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Have you learned to manage your attention-seeking MIL with good grace and no loss of temper?

(5 Posts)
LaPruneDeMaTante Wed 26-Oct-11 19:37:24

I have an escalating problem with her. It's almost but not quite irrelevant that she's my MIL - I actually can't stand anybody who's like this. But naturally it lends an extra something.

She has a big ego and likes a lot of attention for whatever-it-is she's doing. So if she cooks a meal, all through the making of it, she demands that people hear what she's doing and will put on a girly voice to do it in. If she's got a big project on, it could be months of rather odd, disjointed, pissed texts, emails that repeat the same information, phone calls to tell you the significance of what she's doing.

An example is house renovations. She couldn't just have a conservatory built and like it for what it is. She has to also have a reason that includes you in it. And to repeat that reason for approximately two months, three or four times a week, in different ways.

I've worked out that it's about her being the hub of the family: she's desperate for the role. Her sons are quite distant in their way - they love her and respect her, but it's fair to say they've got the measure of her and know expertly how to brush this shit off. But she is their connection, and she's our connection. It's quite a small family. It's just that it's not enough for her to know this. She has to ram it down your throat at every opportunity and I am heartily sick of it. I feel like I'm having a sentiment (that I'm happy to feel under normal circumstances) just wrung out of me, multiple times, and I HATE that feeling of being controlled and having to respond to her drama and her frankly overblown idea of what she means to people and does for people.

The sad thing is that I love her for all the good points she has but she seems to constantly want more and more vocal recognition from me that she's an absolutely fantastic person. I'm beginning to find her boring, I mean I've always known she's self-involved but so many people are - it's just that it's getting so bad that I'm finding her dull to be around and obviously it irritates the hell out of me.

I need coping strategies!

(Apologies to at least 1 Mner who has seen me just after one of MIL's self-obsessed episodes and I was barely coherent....Just repeated it all here...)

janajos Wed 26-Oct-11 20:17:56

I have an equally self-absorbed MIL who wants to be the hub of the family. She lives abroad and EVERY time we visit there is a crisis. She also wants to isolate me from the rest of the family so that they can spend quality time together. For example we were there at the weekend (so this is still raw!) and spent a pleasant afternoon at the park. My DH went by car with his sister and I with the MIL. They did not arrange in advance where to meet. When we arrived, MIL had no idea where they were and proposed taking us (me and our 2yo) on a tour of the area to look for their car! Neither DH nor his sister had taken their mobiles. I said 'you can go if you want, but DS would prefer to stay at the park with me and play, we will see you later.' Eventually they appeared and DH, who knows how to annoy his M, gave me a lovely hug!

When it was time to leave, MIL pulled me aside and said, ' You can either stay here at the park on your own with DS, (her DGS who was, by then exhausted!), or come shopping with me for groceries; your DH will go home to spend some time with his DS!'

All this to say that I think I am beginning to learn how to deal with her, I said,
'I will talk to DH about this and let you know our decision.' I then said to DH, 'neither of these options is going to happen, I am coming back with you and DS and you will have to tell your DM that this is our decision.'

She was not pleased, but we acted together and I managed my irritation much better than in the past.

Can you agree a strategy with your DH?

janajos Wed 26-Oct-11 20:19:07

para 2 DSx2 should read DSis!

LaPruneDeMaTante Wed 26-Oct-11 20:26:00

Yes janajos I recognise that need for 1. making a fuss about really pretty unimportant things - where are they at this precise moment when I want them to be here?
and 2. control of where you are and what you do at a given time. When I visit, I get put in a room with a reason for my being there, and then I'll hear her telling people she's put me there (to relax or whatever, of course my blood pressure is climbing as I hear this) and THEN she'll come and tell me that she's put me there to relax, thereby interrupting any relaxing I was able to do (which I didn't want to do in the first place).

It is absolutely odd and maddening and really pretty humiliating. Usually I just say 'no I'm fine thanks' and get on with talking to FIL. Often there's a comment after that.

Hrhmevc Fri 22-Apr-16 16:58:28

i just need to vent about my MIL. By saving grace she don't live with us and she live with her one of her children as she has some money but if she stays at a retirement home it will not last and her pension is not much and has to give up her love in life "casino" or sacrifice a lot. I try my best to just say hi to her and after that I try my very best to avoid her nor talk to her to avoid getting suck into her drama. if the children don't care at all, she will be homeless.

Current issues I have with her:
1. Plays favorites with her children. Her most favorite is put high on the pedestal. the best in her books, hardworking people and cant do any wrong.
2.She is healthy and very agile considering her age (past 8 decades) but when surrounded with family she acts so fragile and weak as if she has terminal illness. Get a cold –“dying”-call everyone. Self-diagnose herself all the time with any disease she can think of with very slight change within own body or when a friend mentioned an illness, paranoia set in for she also think she has it.
3.Can’t tell a story straight and causing a lot of issue with all her children due to this. TROUBLE MAKER. We stop going out for family dinner parties to celebrate and just celebrate at home for family parties as she complains about the food and lots of drama before that- one occasion she don’t want to come as she was not feeling well so the adults decided, go out to restaurant, teenage grandkids and small kids stay with her to keep her company for the night. Changes mind which is fine but to call one hour prior the dinner not to the host but to another sibling and inform her that “she was not invited when she was the one asked first”. Plays victim and ruin the whole occasion’s mood. Never as peaceful if we have home parties. Golden rule of the family: family party celebrate at home. order or cater it in.
4.Can’t tell or confront her own children with any of her emotional problems towards them. She will tell one child and that unfortunate messenger will ask the sibling.
5.Loves casino – we are sure she spends most of pension there. She will not spend a dime on her hair or nail care. Daughters to take her so they pay too. Cant miss a beat if going to casino in any weather or health situation she has to go and get there.
6.Wants attention or to be fussed on in very gathering esp when we have family guest. will make it a point to inform the family guest she is not well on something eyes, ears nose even hair. Classic scene: one guest mother is really sick as everyone listens, she will start crying. One inlaw told her off by whispering to her "its not all about you." OMG she even told me and harassed me as she was so offended by that comment and i don't know what she wants me to do.
7.Lives with one of children – can’t be on her own especially at night. Scared is her reason.
8.Keep saying depress and sulk at times.
9.Wants and expect monetary gifts. Will let one children to ask other if did not give gifts. Ungrateful if you give her gifts and if she don’t like- RETURNS.
10.She don’t drive and wants to be driven to instead of taking the bus as that will cost her money. Her money is for whatever she wants to spend it. On her terms even her social activity she will not make arrangements as she expects her children to do it. One not available, calls next one and then next one till she finds one who will drive her. can go on her own at any casino trip as in long distances but other than that, has to be driven by any of her children and cant do it on her own.
11.She isn’t a hands on grandma and like another child who made no contribution to the household. She was asked not to do any household anymore as she complains afterwards of hand pain or very tired so to stop hearing all this complains and to avoid more stress to the people living and around her, her children resorted to nothing is expected of her with housework or chores. Just sit and idle. Watch TV all day or chats on phone.
12.Confrontational at times as in will start interrupting conversations and says things like “Someone hates me”….
13. She moved out in one child home. Love hate relationship with the in law she lives with.
14. Even her own children are trying their very best to not to sit with her or beside her as she expects to be served, catered to and be given attention to.
15. Keeps the bulk of her retirement money she has as she wants to give inheritance to her children when she pass because I ask her why she don't go for hair care, nail care and shop that she should spend her money on herself and this is the answer "for inheritance". I told her, "what for? she can use it for herself and health as who ask her for her money?" She did not like my answer as the face I got was a classic. I guess she was not expecting my answer. Keep it just spare me or us with your drama.
16. Decisions is not at best especially when it comes for her safety. She will choose the most unstable furniture or things to aide her.

I am trying my very best to let go and ignore her antics as that is the best I can do. I also pray for guidance on how to handle her. I truly think she has behavioral and personality issues that needs to be address as I don't think this is normal at all. Thanks for letting me vent, it feels really good.

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