To feel utterly depressed about my MIL?

(450 Posts)
Crystalballs Sun 10-Nov-13 15:18:04

I'm afraid this is long but I should give some background to put things into context.

DH and I have been together 8 years and have a child. My mother in law pretends to my face that she loves and supports me but it has never felt very genuine. Despite this, over the last 2 years I have started to trust her and believed she had grown to love me in some way. Obviously I'll never be one of her own and I know that, but I felt we had a good relationship.

Yesterday my friend and I overheard her making some bitchy remarks about me (we had taken my DC to visit her at her place of work, and she thought we had left when we were around the corridor after using the bathroom). We overheard MIL speaking to her sister (my Aunty in law), she said that I wasted her son's money (I don't, and one third of our household income is from my earnings), and that I should be more than happy with my lot as I've done so well in marrying her son compared to the rest of my family who have nothing.

Just 5 minutes beforehand MIL had told me she loved me. I feel so hurt and depressed by all this. It's as though we've regressed back to 6 years ago when I first became pregnant and had DC. MIL found it very difficult when DC was born and accused me of keeping her from DC because I wouldn't let her give DC first bath, let her look after DC alone and stay the night at her house at a couple of weeks old etc. I felt at the time very threatened by how much MIL thought of herself as 'mother' to my child. She even referred to my DC as her 'firstborn'.

DH is very supportive of me however it's difficult for him to act on this. The last time he did catch MIL speaking in this way about me, he confronted her but she burst into tears and basically sulked for one month whilst we had numerous phone calls from my sisters in law pleading for DH to apologise to MIL and stop her feeling so sad. In the end we gave in.

If DH or I confront MIL with this latest event it's 100% likely she will again sulk and make herself the victim. I obviously feel like I want I give her a very wide berth for a while but there's only so long I can do this before the sisters in law get involved and all side with MIL because they feel sorry of her.

I am completely fed up and feel so stupid for believing MIL thought well of me. I can't cope with this stupid childish woman any longer.

SJP83 Sun 10-Nov-13 15:24:48

I really don't have any advice as I've never been in that position, except definitely speak to dh and decide what if anything should be done together. Sometimes it's better to take the high road and do nothing but be thankful you're not being fooled anymore. I really just wanted to say; what a vile woman!

Mylovelyboy Sun 10-Nov-13 15:25:13

She sounds like a right crafty mare. Two faced as well. Dont really know what to suggest. Try and keep the old bitch dear at arms length if you possibly can. Good luck smile

Objection Sun 10-Nov-13 15:25:39

How often do you have to see her? She sounds horrible sad

YouTheCat Sun 10-Nov-13 15:29:06

Just stop calling her/seeing. Leave all of that up to your dh (if he can be bothered).

ceebie Sun 10-Nov-13 15:32:10

I would be tempted to dump it on the sisters in law first. I wonder how it would play out if your DH phoned his sisters looking for advice, repeating what MIL had said about you, and saying how hurt you both are and you don't know how to handle it? I know it seems mean to involve them, but they have involved themselves previously!

Sadly, I think you will have to grow a very, very thick skin and get used the fact that your MIL is, and probably always will be, a complete bitch.

Crystalballs Sun 10-Nov-13 15:32:57

Sadly for me she lives 2 roads along so I have to see her at least once a week. I would love to move house.

I have basically smiled and got on with it over the years, but this just feels like such a betrayal. It took her a long time to adjust as I'm her first daughter/son in law. But I honestly thought after 8 years that she had accepted me.

I think it's just dawned on me that there is really is no hope, ever, of us having a meaningful relationship, and I find that so sad. Not only because it has a knock on effect on how I feel about DC spending time with her, but also because I lost my own mother very young and would love to have that kind of relationship with an older woman who I can trust and look to for advice and support.

Crystalballs Sun 10-Nov-13 15:36:06

My sisters in law have known this to happen in the past and unfortunately they always insist we forgive MIL because she wouldn't have meant anything by it. Or they'll suggest we've made a mistake and misunderstood the situation because MIL loves me and would never say something like that according to them. They basically protect her and try to minimise any discomfort for their mother.

SJP83 Sun 10-Nov-13 15:50:59

Have you ever confronted her directly?

xCupidStuntx Sun 10-Nov-13 15:51:26

Sorry but I'd have to say something!!! How awful, you poor thing!
Your DH really should say something I think!! I wouldn't /couldn't let that go!

Crystalballs Sun 10-Nov-13 15:53:07

Yes I did confront her directly once many years ago. I was very gentle and not confrontational. I just explained I was hurt and didn't understand why we couldn't get along. She burst into tears and told me she loved me and didn't know why I was making trouble. Urrghh.

Crystalballs Sun 10-Nov-13 15:54:27

I do wonder if it's worth DH saying something. All that has happened in the past is everyone feels very sorry for MIL and we look like we are being mean!

xCupidStuntx Sun 10-Nov-13 15:55:41

Get your husband to speak to her then, she sounds like a nightmare. You're a far calmer person than I am, I'd have been so upset hearing those things from someone who claims to love me, ugh!
Personally I'd want DH defending my honor, as sad as that may sound!

HoneyandRum Sun 10-Nov-13 16:06:27

She is playing "the powerful victim" role. Basically she is very passive aggressive and manipulative and has trained her daughters to be responsible for her emotional well being. She is used to getting her way by giving her kids a guilt trip or other emotionally manipulative means. She doesn't have good boundaries and because she pushed the boundaries with you early on (wanting to get access to your child on her terms) and you were able to hold her at bay she has learnt to keep her hostility to you under the radar.

I have a very similar story OP. I also lost my mum young (when I was 13) and was so looking forward to a loving, close relationship. However I have learnt that she is not capable of having that kind of relationship where both sides are respected. My MIL is very immature and she also guilt trips my SIL constantly. I would just be thankful that she is not your natural mother because her children (especially girls) are probably constantly having to sooth her ego and deal with a lot of emotional manipulation.

Accept you won't have the relationship you hoped for. Keep firm boundaries in place and wheel out your partner to deal with her if she gets out of line.

funnyossity Sun 10-Nov-13 16:13:36

Sounds familiar. You know you will look the mean one. Just maintain your own maturity (that doesn't make sense but I can't put it better right now!) and accept that sadly some people never reach maturity. I pity mine now, but I'll never make the mistake of relying on her in any way again.

longtallsally2 Sun 10-Nov-13 16:14:19

Crystal have you read this thread

There have been several threads in very similar veins recently, with MILs who are toxic, manipulative and working to a script. So sad for you. You will find sensible support on here, and hopefully you have RL support around you too.

SJP83 Sun 10-Nov-13 16:18:17

Cripes. She sounds very manipulative. I'd tell her you heard what she said, you've told your dh about it and you are both very upset and disappointed in her. Then leave it at that. I think you may have to give up on any kind of relationship with her except civil in front of the family.

Crystalballs Sun 10-Nov-13 16:19:41

Thank you for the supportive messages. Particularly honeyandrum for articulating exactly what is going on here. It helps me to cope emotionally when I understand the situation on a mental level if that makes sense.

Will read the other thread.

JoinYourPlayfellows Sun 10-Nov-13 16:21:27

There's no point in confronting her, you've done that before and it got you nowhere.

The thing to do now, now that you know that you will never have a good relationship with her, is to withdraw from her entirely.

Just stop engaging with her on any level, other than what you absolutely have to do to get by.

Stop visiting her, stop having conversations with her, stop calling her.

Just stop all of it.

You don't owe this woman the chance to be horrible about you for the rest of your life.

Tell your DH that your relationship with her is over and ask him to respect that in his own future dealings with her.

She sounds two-faced, you don't have to see her if you don't want to!
Or keep seeing her to an absolute minimum.

Crystalballs Sun 10-Nov-13 16:27:49

The other thread sounds very familiar. My experiences have been very similar. In fact I still fret that I didn't bond well with my DC in the first few months because of the stress I went through with MIL. I had a recurring nightmare that MIL took DC from me for weeks.

I dread the day my DC is old enough for her to communicate directly with her without needing my consent.

marriedinwhiteisback Sun 10-Nov-13 16:28:29

Mine's a snidey old bag but after 23 years it's water off a duck's back.

Some of her quotes

After DS 2 died and I have had had two miscarriages "it's such a relief that SIL can perform without out any problems".

"how much was that" "ooh £39.50 for pair of cotton trousers - how extravagant, does DH know".

Her daughter's live abroad - they got wise years before I met DH.

Nowadays I take very little notice and do you know the other night when we met the mum and gran of one of DD's friends they asked if I was her daughter and the old bag actually said "no she's my dil but I'd be proud if she was my daughter" blush.

It's been a hard old road OP but I've only ever been rude about her on Mnet and perhaps after all these years it's smoothing out. WHERE THE F WAS MNET 20 YEARS AGO grin

xCupidStuntx Sun 10-Nov-13 16:32:44

Oh crystal I missed the part about you losing your mother sad
Reminds me so much of my "relationship" with exes family. I so wanted to be part of it but it was so obviously they were using me (not really the correct term) for DD.
I could go on and on about all the subtle and not so subtle comments she'd make, always acting like she had my best interests but couldn't have been further from the truth! She convinced me to keep working full time in a crappy paid job, never seeing DD while her son stayed at home and of course she ended up seeing more of DD than I did and she'd get great pleasure out of telling me all about the things DD did that I missed, I was so bloody vulnerable and I really think she took advantage of that!

Sorry for going so off point there, although the situations are slightly different I understand where you're coming from!!

Crystalballs Sun 10-Nov-13 16:33:53

We both come from families where we're all fairly close and see a lot of each other. I can't imagine I could withdraw from seeing MIL completely without it being an enormous stress. It wouldn't be worth the trouble it would cause. I would be out in the cold.

I will just have to face her on certain occasions, but I will stop any plans she tries to make with DC and all collecting from school and popping in during the week.

80sMum Sun 10-Nov-13 16:34:38

Oh, it's a pity that you overheard that conversation OP. It must have been very shocking and so hurtful.
But, on the other hand, it's not a bad thing, because now you at least know where you stand with her.
You have the upper hand now, don't you? You know your MIL's true colours and she doesn't know that you know. Keep it that way! Smile sweetly (through gritted teeth!) when you see her, same as before. But be wary from now on and keep a tight control over any influence MIL may try to have in your family.

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