How can I ever forgive my mother in law?(199 Posts)
Ok, this is long. And goes back over a few years. It's all re surfacing now as we are having another baby in 2 weeks.
My MIL was awful when I had my first child 5 years ago. For the last 2 weeks I've been re living the first year of my DD's life and can't stop feeling massive anger towards my MIL. I repressed my feelings back then, thought it was me being unreasonable, and now I am so angry she took advantage when I was vulnerable. Completely manipulated me as I was trying to find my feet as a new mum.
Brief history is my DH and I had a baby 18 mths after meeting. We knew we were meant for each other the day we met, and DH proposed and asked me to move in within 3 months. I chose not to move in then (felt it was too soon) but did move in when I was 3 months pregnant. We remained engaged for a few years and married after our daughter was born.
DH has a big family, 5 siblings. 2 older sisters with no children/un married/early 40's. Our daughter is the first grandchild on both sides. In my family I lost my mum to mental illness at 16 and my dad died in my 20's. I have no siblings but am close with my large extended family.
My MIL's behaviour changed when I became pregnant. It began with inviting herself to our scans and assuming she would be in the delivery room. She came to the scans and sat holding DH's hand and didn't utter a word to me. I felt like rent a womb! She knew we didn't want to find out sex but pointed to screen saying "it's definitely a boy, I can see something!".
She was not taking no for an answer on being there at the birth and DH would not stand up to her. He won't stand up to his parents, and is deeply entrenched/conditioned to his family way of life (they all overstep boundaries massively). So we agreed he would not tell her when I went into labour and only call her after baby was born. She turned up at the hospitial immediately, crying, in a state, picked up my daughter from her cot without asking me and held her, weeping, ignoring me.
I went home that night. The next day MIL was over, and spent the next few weeks crying to everyone that I was 'keeping her away from her grandchild' because we said we only wanted visitors every other day. I had a very traumatic delivery and was damaged, bleeding and all sorts. I felt scared and threatened by my MIL, she talked about my baby as though she was the mother. My MIL still visited every single day for the first week and wanted to do bedtime every night.
Over the first weeks I had massive pressure from DH's sister and father to 'give baby to MIL'. She would never communicate with me directly, and always ignored me when I talked about baby's routine or how I was doing things. She is a mother of 5 and was insulted I would even dare to tell her about my way! She wanted sleep overs at her house, first bath, bedtime bottles almost every night, just way too much for me. She wanted a baby seat in her car - where was she going to take her?! She bought all the first clothes, literally everything down to nappies and nappy cream. She chose christening outfit and first birthday outfit. I let her do all this to keep the peace. She openly disliked the name we chose for DD and refused to pronounce it properly for a few weeks. It's a very easy name to pronounce.
After a couple of months I was pressured into letting MIL look after DD once a week for the day. I never felt liked by her or accepted by her and thought if I do this maybe she will like me and we can forge a relationship. She always told me repeatedly and very loudly that she loved me like her daughter but it was odd, I never felt she was genuine.
She completely ignored my wishes for DD's care on these days - I brought her food, she binned it and made something else. Non organic, never any vegetables and loads of salt. She co slept with DD against my express wishes at nap times, took her to visit/be passed around her friends and family without asking or even telling me until after the event. She refused to let me say goodbye to DD in the mornings, always pulling her away or walking into another room telling me to 'just go, it's ok'. In the evenings when I went to collect I was put under pressure to let DD stay the night and for me to come back in the morning. I did this once, and the next day they really pressured me into leaving DD for another night. I cried the whole of the second night but felt I couldn't say no. DH, his mum, dad and sisters were all telling me I should enjoy the break and let my poor MIL have some time with her GD.
After about a year I stopped the childcare arrangements, I finally got the courage up. I suffered huge fallouts with her family after this. SIL asking why I was taking DD away from MIL etc. MIL was distraught and cried for weeks. Even though she was still seeing DD 2-3 times a week, doing her baths, dinner time, bedtime story, bottle.
I hope you're still with me ... Almost there! An ongoing problem is that my MIL never ever says 'no' to my DD. My DD could hit her or say something rude, and she says 'that's ok darling!'. I have asked my MIL repeatedly not to do this but she ignores me. DD cottoned on to GM being a soft touch when she was about 18months, and always behaves badly as soon as we are in her presence. This means I have to be really strict and really discipline DD in front of my MIL. I hate doing this because my MIL takes this to mean I don't have a positive or close relationship with my daughter. She has said this to my SIL.
So in the end, all of this history has resulted in me feeling as though I didn't and still haven't bonded well with my DD. I was so stressed and upset by all the emotional blackmail from my MIL in the first year and it still lingers on today. I feel my MIL thinks she is closer to my DD than I am. My DD flocks to her which makes me feel worse. I know this is partly because MIL never says 'no', not even to 4 bags of crisps or 10 biscuits! DD is told it's 'their little secret' and not to tell mummy.
Now I have another baby on the way and feel anxious and scared about my MIL taking advantage again when I am vulnerable post birth. Every member of DH's family believe my MIL is the best mother/GM in the world. I feel she has manipulated me, knowing there are no maternal GP's around to challenge her. If I say no to her, she cries or goes all quiet and tearfully tells me she just wants to help and loves me like a daughter.
I can see clearly what she did when I had my DD now, and I feel so much anger towards her that I don't even want her to spend any time with my DD or even cuddle my new baby.
How do I get over this? Telling her is not an option. As I've said if she is refused she cries and tells me she loves me.
I'm sorry this is the longest opening thread ever. Felt I needed to write it all down for clarity.
Your Mil isn't the problem your DH's lack of spine is...
Wow that's long I'm going to read it again and reply but I just didn't want you to think nobody was answering.
Never mind forgiving your mil, do you forgive your DH for allowing you to be treated like this?
He needs to man the fuck up.
Well she sounds like a piece of work!
Decide what you want, and stick to it. Be clear with everyone and don't back down. If you give into the tears then it will never end.
This is going to sound a bit harsh but what the others think of you isn't the issue. Your relationship with your children is.
Get control of your DD back too. Say you want time for her to bond with newbie and change the ways things work. Your child, your rules. Not hers.
Long, calm, talk to DH as well. You are mum, she's GM. Different roles. You need his support. Don't make it about criticizing her - make it about you being the mum you want to be.
Yep. I second that Chipped. You and your DH need to grow some balls right now.
Your mil horrible behaviour would not be an issue if your wimp of a husband puts his wife's feelings first. You blame your mil, but the problem is your DH! It's like blaming the ow when the cheating DH is the problem.
Agree it's dh who needs to see you and he as the parental unit...instead of deferring everything onto his mum! Her time has gone, this is not her baby and he needs to realise this.
Move further away ?
Could you remove yourselves from the area? Sounds like you'd all be a lot healthier with some physical space between you.
I agree with others, you need to get your DH onside to stick up for you and get some pretty strict boundaries in place. Visits need to be much less frequent, no unsupervised contact etc..etc..
Tantrums from grown adults should always be ignored!
If DH won't support you in this? Then I think you've got some serious future decisions to make.
What chipped said. Your husband's utter lack of thought or consideration for your feelings is just incredible. I think you need to sit him down and tell him of your feelings and that you expect him to back you. Men who put mothers before wife and DC are pathetic IMO. She has a place in yours/his/DC life but the delivery room is not a part of it
Where was your DH in all this?
He needs to grow some balls.
X-posted with everyone.
Your DH needs to grow a pair and tell his DM to back the hell off! Your MIL definitely has boundary issues but without your DH backing you up she will continue to trample over any wishes you have.
Although I understand that you're angry with her (God who wouldn't be, she sounds like a nightmare?!) you should be furious with your DH. You need to know you can depend on him to put you first rather than pandering to his mother. She sounds a little like my MIL, a wannabe Matriarch who rules over her family dispensing wisdom.. Total bloody PITA she was during my first pregnancy, assumed that just because her other DILS deferred to her I would do to. You might have to be strong alone at first, say No and mean it. Stay calm and firm, do not defer to her. Tell your husband that you will do things your way and he backs you up or sods off until he remembers which woman married.
Sorry, that was a bit long too
Also by same author is book called 'toxic parents'....get your DH to read it.
Perhaps show your DH this thread??
and print it out (including responses) and post it to your batshitcrazy mil
Wow, OP. What a horrible experience for you. Your MIL is awful. And your DH really needs to step up and support his wife and children.
I think wheresthebeach talks sense.
Er your DH needs to get his act together! Bloody hell.
First of all sympathy. Anything that happens during that newborn period (when you feel so vulnerable) really stays with you. I had a bad experience with a family member, put it away thinking it was in the past - and all my anger resurfaced around DD's 1st birthday. It is very difficult to get past. So I understand
I agree with the other posters who say that the real issue here is your DH. You need to talk to him honestly. Consider getting joint counselling if possible (I think it might help here) or if he won't go consider going yourself. It will help you to clarify that you were not in the wrong, in the face of the madness. And it will help you to work out strategies for dealing with your MIL.
I'm angry with her but I'm fucking furious with your sap of a husband.
"My baby, my rules, either to stick to them or you won't see them as often". Keep repeating until she gets the message. Actually I would cut down the amount of time your DD spends with her anyway she sounds as though she is spoiling her.
"If you loved me like a daughter you would stop trying to take my baby away". Hit back OP she needs putting straight.
Yes, you should be angry with your MIL but why aren't you angrier with your spineless coward of a DH. I would have insisted on moving far far away from his family in your shoes and if he refused then he would have had to choose between me and the family. Harsh maybe, but if he won't put his foot down with his family, you're going to have to put your foot down with him.
PDF for your DH to read...
I think it's a good thing that your daughter feels loved by her grandmother...just limit the contact as much as you see fit. You're the mother, so I think it's your right until your daughter is old enough to make up her own mind.
+1 for husband growing a backbone. You poor thing. I can't imagine going through what you've been put through. Don't let it happen again, stand up for yourself and make sure your DH stands up for you too.
yup. Your husband needs to strap on a giant pair and understand that by prioritising his mother's feelings over yours all the time, he is telling you over and over and over that you matter less to him than she does and he is happier to have you unhappy than mummy dearest. That's the sort of thing that wrecks a marriage.
She is being unreasonable in her demands and it's not going to end well unless she backs off.
Gosh, tell the other siblings to hurry along with some more grand kids! I think it is totally understandable that you feel anger towards her, she has been totally selfish. I would say to your husband that while you do appreciate the love and support, you felt you needed more time to yourselves to bond last time and you would like to be the one organising grandparent time this time, not her. Then draw up something that you are happy with and give it, via dh or even post it to mil. If she arrives at extra times then don't let her in or open the door and say you are just of our and can't see her then. Likewise with call s and texts. Try to keep it friendly, but just be firm that you are the organiser. Then when she is over maybe be especially nice and make an effort etc. Good luck!
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