To wish MIL had one single solitary social skill she could apply to my dc?

(31 Posts)
LiegeAndLief Thu 15-Nov-12 19:47:45

Rant alert.

MIL is not a horrible person. Deep down I'm sure she means well. But she drives me up the fucking wall in all sorts of ways and is completely lacking in any sort of normal interaction with other human beings (to prove this, she has fallen out with practically all her family and most of her ex friends).

I am now used to the fact that she doesn't listen to anything I say but follows me round the house conducts endless dreary monologues, and that she gets most of her opinions from the Daily Mail, making the endless dreary monologues make me want to stab her. However, I just cannot bear listening to the kids try to talk to her and be completely ignored. I used to put it down to the fact she couldn't understand them, and to be fair she probably does still struggle to understand dd, but ds is 6 and speaks perfectly clearly.

She's visiting now. Example from earlier today - ds got his Beaver jumper out to show her (he's just been invested). She launches into story about how she saw some Beavers at the memorial thing she went to at the weekend.

Ds: "I was in a parade on Remembrance Day too". (He was really really proud of this and it was very important to him).

MIL: "Hmm. It was quite cold so I wore a big coat and Maureen was there too and her daughter's boyfriend's cousin's dog has got terrible blood pressure... etc etc... blah blah.. something else inaccurate about some random person's health..."

Every time she comes to stay he starts out trying to talk to her and then just gives up and ignores her in return, which makes her cross, or gets shouty because he's feeling ignored. Which I think is fair enough but then I feel like I have to tell him off for being rude to Grandma.

Sigh.

Rant over.

pjmama Thu 15-Nov-12 19:51:01

Have you ever pointed out to her that she's ignoring him and that's why he's ignoring her/getting frustrated? She's clearly oblivious to it. Or stick yourself into the middle of the conversation and force her to interact with him?

Greensleeves Thu 15-Nov-12 19:52:41

sorry but pmsl

seriously though, she sounds VERY wearing indeed, poor you.

I think I would take the "granny is getting old and has some funny ideas, just smile and don't take it personally" approach. Sounds like she wouldn't notice anyway.

WiseKneeHair Thu 15-Nov-12 19:57:19

She sounds like my grandMIL! Part if the reason she ignored DS was because she was hard of hearing, but even with lots of shouting etc, she pretty much ignored him. No suggestion, I'm afraid, but plenty of sympathy and wine
Bye, my grandMIL is now thankfully sadly dead.

LiegeAndLief Thu 15-Nov-12 19:59:04

pjmama, I haven't because I know she would take it really badly. In her eyes she can do no wrong and if anyone ever points out anything, however small, that she might have done wrong she gets really stroppy and indignant about it.

She's done things before now like pull one of our kitchen cupboard doors off its hinges (she was trying to get past the child lock but she'll never ask us to help with things like that, is one of the things that drives me completely insane about her) and just left it without mentioning it. When one of us found it and suggested she might have asked us to show her how to work the child lock rather than ripping the door off she went into some massive rant justifying (or not) her actions and making it all our fault.

So whilst I could say something, it might end up making things worse. And even if I did I'm not sure she'd be able to break the habit of a lifetime...

LiegeAndLief Thu 15-Nov-12 20:00:36

ha ha Greensleeves I might challenge myself to see how far I'm able to go in that direction right in front of her without her noticing. I'm thinking pretty far...

UniS Thu 15-Nov-12 20:01:51

are you my secret sister in law?? Annoying isn't it.

LiegeAndLief Thu 15-Nov-12 20:10:20

Very sorry (and secretly kind of glad) I'm not the only one suffering!

She also blatantly favours dd, which winds poor ds up even more. I can cope with all of this myself but I just feel so sad when I look at his despondant little face desperately trying to get some attention from Grandma. I feel like telling him she's mad and he's better off not bothering, but he thinks she's great.

hackmum Thu 15-Nov-12 20:10:51

What is it with people like this? Why does anyone think they're so interesting that everyone else wants to listen to minute details of their lives, while simultaneously they show no interest in anyone else's? I have known so many people like this and it only takes about 10 minutes before I want to kill them.

I know my regret on my deathbed will be that I have never once said "I DON'T GIVE A FLYING FUCK WHAT YOU ONCE SAID TO DOREEN OR SHE SAID BACK TO YOU OR ABOUT YOUR UNCLE'S SISTER-IN-LAW'S BLOOD PRESSURE SO SHUT THE FUCK UP YOU BORING COW."

TalkinPeace2 Thu 15-Nov-12 20:30:06

apart from the choice of newspaper you could be my sil talking about my mum

OpheliaPayneAgain Thu 15-Nov-12 20:31:44

IUf she is that dreary with monologues and has no social skills to pass to your DC ....exactly what is your DP like? is he dreary? monotonous? lacking interaction?

If not, why do you think it will skip a generation and afflict your DC if your DH isn't similarly affected?

Arseface Thu 15-Nov-12 20:41:40

Another possible Sil here grin.
DM also views me asking her not to do things as laying down a gauntlet - 'No chocs now, we're having supper in a minute,' translates to, get mouldy old quality street down DCs throats by hook or crook!

You have my sympathy but agree its exhausting and futile to try and change her.
My DS1 also ignores her now after years of being brushed off while she smothers DD.

TeWiDoesTheHulaInHawaii Thu 15-Nov-12 20:47:47

Has she always been like this?

Has she had a hearing test?

Sounds like my FIl, we are pretty sure he's autistic to be honest. He's v impressionable re Daily Mail, his v odd church, racist colleagues. However, because he never knows where to put himself etc he is quite happy to be manoeuvred about by usgrin.
I do point out if a child is trying to talk to him and also put my hand up after a while if a rubbish joke stand up routine begins. Best to make interventions in the moment, practically, rather than afterwards in an abstract way.

ooer Thu 15-Nov-12 21:57:13

I do the intervention thing, myself. Smiley and bright. "Oh, yes MiL, DS was just telling you about HIS parade. Come on DS, tell Grandma, what did you have to do?" etc

We have to intervene for both grandmas interrupting DCs. Not at same time usually. [After interruption] "Oooh yes, DS2, what were you saying sweetheart?"

Uppermid Thu 15-Nov-12 22:02:14

Last time I saw my nan (in fact every time I see her) all she goes on about it her other great grandchildren, even if mine are there. I tried introducing her to dd 2 a couple of years ago, she completely blanked us both - her loss not mine, I no longer see her and she misses out on 2 fabulous girls..

Anyway fast forward to earlier this year, she was talki g to my mum and kept going on about how lovely my girls were and how well behaved and that her other ggc (the previously perfect ones) were bery badly behaved little monsters.

I put it down to her age and am lucky I don't have to see her

No advice I'm afraid

OpheliaPayneAgain Thu 15-Nov-12 22:06:13

I put it down to her age and am lucky I don't have to see her

Wow, who would be old and in a scant possession of loose marbles. Thank fuck we have a load of eEst European immigrants on a pitance doing all the menial care jobs now, because families couldnt really give a shit

MORCAPS Thu 15-Nov-12 22:09:23

I would go with telling DS she is a bit mad and to not be too bothered about her.

You can't change her but you can ensure that your DS knows there is nothing wrong with him.

6 is about right for learning the nod and smile approach to odd relatives.

RubyrooUK Thu 15-Nov-12 22:09:42

Oh dear. I like my MIL a lot but my husband does a wonderful impression of her that goes:

DH: Mum, I need to tell you something important...
MIL: You will never guess who I saw today. Emma McNatt.
DH: Sorry, who?
MIL: You know, you once saw her two daughters pass you in a car when you came to visit and I pointed them out. One is divorced, very sad story and the other is a lesbian....
DH: Mum, we're having a baby!
MIL: Oh lovely. I was thinking when I saw Mrs Green in the Co-Op that it would be lovely to have grandchildren but you know she has had terrible trouble with her knees.
DH: It's going to be a boy!
MIL: Oh hang on....sorry, I just saw a dog.

It drives him mad but we have turned it into a joke so it has lost the power to annoy. DS is almost as absent-minded as her, actually, so DH and I just have to ensure we avoid any rooms in which they both meet in future. grin

LiegeAndLief Thu 15-Nov-12 22:13:47

Sometimes I wonder if she is on the autistic spectrum, or something along those lines - she really does have no idea how to interact with other people and there is something very odd about her response to people. Hmm. I do try the intervention thing if I'm nearby but it gets really wearing after a while and then I find she's ignoring both of us! You're definitely right about doing it in the moment though.

It's not like she's really elderly either, she's only in her 60s and anyway, she's always been like this. Dh says she never listened to him either as a child and they have a very strained relationship now.

LiegeAndLief Thu 15-Nov-12 22:17:36

Ha ha ha Rubyroo that's exactly like my MIL! Except that instead of "Oh lovely" she would have said "yes" or "hmm" absentmindedly in a tone which implied she couldn't give a flying shit that you were having a baby and couldn't understand why you wouldn't shut the hell up and let her get on with telling you the vitally important tale of Mrs Green's knees.

She would also be completely unable to remember Emma McNatt's name, but would spend at least 10 mindnumbingly tedious minutes trying to recall it and be very put out that you couldn't tell her what name she was thinking of.

HumphreyCobbler Thu 15-Nov-12 22:20:02

IUf she is that dreary with monologues and has no social skills to pass to your DC ....exactly what is your DP like? is he dreary? monotonous? lacking interaction?

If not, why do you think it will skip a generation and afflict your DC if your DH isn't similarly affected?"

I think the OP is wishing that her MIL would act in a polite and interested way TOWARDS her children rather than being worried that they will catch this behavior from her.

RubyrooUK Thu 15-Nov-12 22:22:28

On a serious note, I think ooer makes a good suggestion about positive intervention that isn't rude but keeps everyone on the right track.

I may be trying this......smile

LiegeAndLief Thu 15-Nov-12 22:23:05

yes Humphrey, that's exactly what I meant - sorry meant to reply to that post earlier and forgot.

My dc, of course, will grow up erudite and witty just like dh and me wink

Learning70 Thu 15-Nov-12 22:29:11

Same here. My mum comes round and I get marooned in a chair listening to her bang on about other family members who wouldn't piddle on me if I was on fire. Then it's the blinking Daily Mail regurgitations. The kids get bored and start playing up and still she bangs on, simultaneously giving it the cats bum mouth at their behaviour. I try to chat about something more positive but any ideas get shot down in flames and if I chat about anything nice or positive that's happened she gets a moody on. Ooh it's good to get it off my chest.

Rudolphstolemycarrots Thu 15-Nov-12 23:05:46

can you demonstrate to her how to continue a kiddie conversation?

Ds: "I was in a parade on Remembrance Day too". (He was really really proud of this and it was very important to him).

MIL: "Hmm. It was quite cold so I wore a big coat and Maureen was there too and her daughter's boyfriend's cousin's dog has got terrible blood pressure... etc etc... blah blah.. something else inaccurate about some random person's health..."

You: ''So, DS what happened in your rememberence Day parade?''

WelshMaenad Thu 15-Nov-12 23:48:04

OH MY GOD. Are we married to brothers? This is my MIL, absolutely.

She once interrupted DH on the phone, who had called her to tell her about a really important medical appt of Dd's, to launch into a monologue on how their local cinema had closed down, and all the gums they had been to see there...

WelshMaenad Thu 15-Nov-12 23:48:52

Films, not gums!

Euphemia Fri 16-Nov-12 07:28:33

Typical "conversation" between MIL and DD:

DD: Grandma, we did an assembly at school last week and I ...
MIL: Oh look! Andy Murray's on TV! I ...
DD: Grandma! I was telling you about my assembly!
MIL: Don't interrupt Grandma, darling, that's rude.

Argh!

RandomMess Fri 16-Nov-12 07:35:51

Can she look after dd so you and ds can have some special time? I would tell your ds that Grandma is old and not good and listening and it's not him it's her!

Sharksandfishes Fri 16-Nov-12 07:51:04

This could be my mother. We live on the other side of the world! I will ring her and she will tell me about the latest dog she is looking after (she is a dog sitter) and totally ignore everything I tell her.
Most recent crazy conversation (bear in mind I had just had DS2 3 weeks before):
DM: [Boring story about dog, where she took him for a walk, who his owners are and where they have gone on holiday]....anyway, how are you?
Me: I'm ok, but exhausted, DS2 is not an easy baby like DS1, he doesn't seem to be as settled and I'm finding it so hard not having family support.
DM: Oh. Did I tell you I got lost the other day?

Arrggghhh! angry

We also Skype with DS3 who is 3.5 and she just totally ignores him, and then says things like "he talks fast doesn't he?". When she rings the house and he answers the phone, he tries to tell her things and gets really frustrated. sad

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