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My mother hates my husband (long)

(956 Posts)
badtoworse Sat 15-Sep-12 19:46:56

I don't live in the UK. DH is from the country we live in. Mum came to live here (divorced and then later my father died) some years ago in a house a short drive away. Soon decided it was a big mistake and that she hated it, then to complicate matters then injured her back and became really unable to manage living alone. We sold my house and we moved in with her. All coinciding with me starting a new business venture and DH becoing unemployed. DH has bascially been unemployed (except for a couple of short contracts) since then. When we all moved in together DS was 20 months (now 4.5) and we've since had another child who's 1.5.

Before we all moved in together I was about to go back after mat leave and all set up (at her suggestion) for mum to have DS while I worked and DH at work. DH lost his job three days before I went back but mum said she still wanted to come up in the afternoons cos she wanted to see DS. She (much later) claimed DH had sat on the coputer and let her do it all. He said (we had a big row about it then) he only sat on the computer while DS napped.

My business has been slowly dying a death so I'm going to be WOH from Monday (previously ran busness from home). Yesterday I had meetings all day. DH supposed to be looking after DCs for the afternoon while I'm out.
I told him not to let my mum do too much, to imagine she was not there as it's too much for her. When I came home I asked mum (who I saw first on coming in) how things had been and she pulled a face and said tell you later.
Asked DH if he'd let DS just spend the whole afternoon with my mum and he said, only a bit while DD asleep..she slept for almost 2 hours. Then I ask mum and she says that he'd sat on the laptop and told DS he couldn't play as he'd wake the baby up and she'd felt bad so spent 2 hrs entertaining DS while DH sat on laptop.

I was really pissed off as I'd asked him specifically not to do this and we had a row.

He says she's exaggerating and that he can't believe I'm questioning his parenting abilities/calling him a neglectful parent and talking about him behind his back. He says DS wasn't with her the entire time, he was in and out and he didn't tell him he couldn't play, just that he had to be quiet as the baby was asleep.

She says he's a lazy git and it's the same old shit as all those years ago, she's had enough and would go back to the UK if she had the money. They've been avoiding each other all day and I feel totally caught in the middle.

I'm so angry that he did exactly what I asked him not to but I can't stand this atmosphere, it's like I'm being asked to choose, my husband or my mother.

badtoworse Mon 07-Jan-13 06:45:34

That was a brilliant post 3toms and it's been very thought provoking. I think I do most of your things for dealing with DS and, in fact since this started and he's really started playing up more I've found that ignoring as much as poss (without being totally lax) has really worked, as what he's looking for is a reaction, which is funny cos it's quite like her behaviour...he strops (throws things etc) or whines and cries when he's annoyed...shows how childish her behaviour is.
For a while now (before ths nonsense kicked off this time) I've been doing the "once it's over it's over thing...i.e once I've told him off or whatever then that's it, it's forgotten..as if nothing happened..no grudges or guilt trips.
Hardly saw DM yday (deliberately). Went out all morning and left her doing the windows. Came back and was in the house for about 30 mins and then set off for DH's family get together. She looked a bit shocked when I said we were off as I think she thought we'd be at home for lunch and did pathetic act for me. Was still in pathetic mode for me when we came back and super chatty for DS but Dh said she passed him in the hall and he got a stroppy hello.
Hoping to hear something from the agent tmrw about signing and then dreading telling her we're actually going. Bit worried she'll stage an injury and a bit worried about what limits to set and how etc once we go.....don't see the guilt tripping ending any time soon.

Jux Mon 07-Jan-13 08:46:06

I think you're right, she will continue and may step it up. I hope she doesn't go so far as to injure herself, but it is a possibility, so you need to consider how you would deal with it if it happens.

So, remember that many people injure themselves, many of those people are elderly and live alone. Family/friends help BUT that doesn't mean they go to live with the injured person or move the injured person in.

Bring round a casserole which can be heated up; do a little washing-up perhaps; the normal sort of things that people do when they visit.

If more care is needed, it sounds like your mum could probably afford to get someone in, unless you have something like Community Nurses over there. You are neither qualified to be responsible for her care, nor able to take responsibility for her care.

I do hope you get things signed in the next few days.

badtoworse Mon 07-Jan-13 14:02:33

So, seeing as I was out practically the entire day yday and she didn't get a chance for any digs, she's back to the old bollocks today:

Something like this:
Her (tearfully) : can you get me some batteries for my tens cos I did so much in the garden I really need it.
Me: Fine.
Her: And sometime can you write down directions (choking back sobs) to ikea because there are things I need.
Me: I'll take you, I'm only going 5 mins away, I'm not abandoning you to go to Outer Mongolia.
Her: No, I just need directions. I need things because you might need to take shelves and leave holes in the walls and I'll need handyman to come in and decorate.
Me: I won't leave holes, asap after leaving I'll fill them and paint over them. But, if you want to go to ikea that's up to you.
Her: (Sobs) Of course I don't want to go, you know I'm not safe in the car.
Says something about destroying her back doing all the gardening and I say why is she even doing it, she can pay Inma to come in.
Her: Who's Inma?
Me: The woman who did the hedges, who you liked.
Her: I can't have her in, she destroyed the hedge. (She DID NOT).
Me:Fine, then don't have her in, do it yourself.
Her: Don't speak to me like that.
Me: I'm not speaking to you like anyhting.
Then I left.
Came back and she says:
"Two things, the cassette (chimney fan to blow warm air out into the room) isn't working and Norton has only 30 days left". I said fine. Felt like saying, so sort it out yourself..who do you think I am? She can perfectly well update Norton, she used to do it herself.
GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!

Jux Mon 07-Jan-13 18:11:02

"Mum, you always could update Norton yourself; it hasn't changed and is simple and straightforward. I thought you had hurt your back (laughs) not your brain! (encouragingly) Come on, you can do it, mum!"

badtoworse Mon 07-Jan-13 19:37:40

OMG she'd go apeshit if I said that, would accuse me of calling her stupid, disrespecting her etc etc.

Herrena Mon 07-Jan-13 20:30:57

Sorry, but I think you should just do whatever she asks you without questioning it and DON'T ENGAGE. You elaborated after her pathetic Ikea request - bad move.

You'll be out of there soon, try to keep calm....

ThreeTomatoes Mon 07-Jan-13 20:58:14

I wouldn't have offered to take her to IKEA. Just say 'fine' (her request would most probably change at some point anyway!). Sounds like your 'end-of' word of choice, iyswim!

I think you're gonna have to be prepared for it not to be over once you've moved out, you know. You'll be loads better off, of course, and able to be more in control, but expect plentiful calls for help - I'd screen your calls for a start!

badtoworse Mon 07-Jan-13 21:03:18

I know I should just say OK but the weeping winds me up and sometimes I can't help it. Feeling a bit down as I still have so much shit to wade through and then I know it's not over once we leave, I'm fairly sure she'll go super pathetic or angry and I am sooooo tired of it. I wish she'd just storm off the the UK and I could have keep her more at arm's length. Back to work tomorrow and I'm knackered.
will have to think seriously about limits and things once we're moved but I'm too tired right now.

HoleyGhost Mon 07-Jan-13 22:47:16

This is the only way she knows how to be as an older woman. Her role in life has been taken from her, she has lost her position as matriarch. She has been hideously destructive, selfish and miserable and you are doing the right thing, but this genuinely is a massive upheaval in her life.

It is very difficult to stay assertive with someone who is passive aggressive like your dm. Very difficult to avoid getting wound up, even if you were not under such stress yourself. When you have time, I reccomend reading a book on assertiveness. It will give you techniques to help you deal with her and move on.

Best of luck!

Jux Tue 08-Jan-13 00:39:48

Fair enough.

If you can invest in caller id machine or something, do! Also be terribly busy and exhsusted for the first month or so once you've moved. Only listen to msgs from her once a day or every 2 days. Return calls only twice a week at most.

Every time she contacts you at first will be desperately urgent wink and you will be feeling guilty so will itch to jump to it. Is there a near neighbour to her who could nip in if you're really worried, in the first instance?

Jux Tue 08-Jan-13 00:40:48

Do they have panic buttons over there?

Aussiebean Tue 08-Jan-13 05:35:15

Maybe you could say I will be over every Saturday afternoo and can help with whatever then. And she can come to you every Wednesday for dinner. And that is it! If she calls saying she has fallen if go running over, call an ambulance. If she calls to ask you to do something then tell her you will do it on Saturday. If its an emergency and it needs doing now then she can do it herself because you won't doing it till Saturday.

A lot of her requests seems really easy to sort out. Batteries? She can on line shop for those. Ikea? She can wait till you are gone and then decide what she needs. It is very wrong of her to tell you you will be taking her shelves. She is telling you how you will be behaving.

It is really hard to change the habit of a lifetime. And you are doing a great job

badtoworse Tue 08-Jan-13 07:13:40

Thanks for the ideas, it's a good idea to be "busy" for a bit afterwards so that she has to get on with it. I like the idea of setting aside a day to visit her and a day for her to come. I do find the patheticness hard as it taps into my inner guilt and I start to doubt myself. Luckily, strangely enough it's mostly been about things that she can perfectly well do herself so it's easier to see through it. But I do find it hard line to follow..being calm and not engaging and yet not feeling guilty for that iyswim?
She asked for me to get her firelighters a few days back, but only the cheap ones from the supermarket at the top of the village "if I was near there". Which I haven't been when it's been open. But she could perfectly well walk there herself (it's next to the bank she stormed off to that day) or she could buy them 2 mins walk away and pay more. It's like, one of the reasons she reckons she did her back in is that you have to run the water for a few minutes til it comes through hot and she thought it was wasteful (financially, not from a green perspective) so she ran it into a bucket then heaved the bucket down the loo to flush it. So, supposedly did her back in to save money (when she has plenty) on water, when it all evens out anyway as the council tax rates here are very low, even if water is more expensive.
Hoping for some news on the lease today.

AutumnDreams Tue 08-Jan-13 10:07:25

I hope you hear today Bad that everything is going ahead. You`ve been in a kind of limbo, not being able to finalise things, You know better than me though that Spain has been "shut"! I love it. They sure know how to celebrate. My son and Spanish daughter-in-law are only returning to London today.

Sometimes I have wished you were moving just a teeny bit further away from her, although obviously you couldn`t, with work, schools etc. You will really have to start as you mean to go on though. Lay down your boundaries from the getgo, and have the names to hand, of people your mother can pay to do anything she considers too much to do herself. Be ready for "Your husband does nothing all day, why can`t he do it". It`s not going to be a breeze, but then you knew that. Telling you not to feel guilty is like telling you not to breathe, so I won`t bother, Instead I`ll say again that you have my total respect for what you are doing to make you and your family a stronger, safer unit. It`s lovely to hear that already you and your H are re-discovering what you had.....before the Visitation! He loves you very much. Never lose sight of that, it`s worth more than all the money and property your mother values so much.

badtoworse Tue 08-Jan-13 11:31:46

Spoke to the agent who says the owners aren't keen. They haven't said no (I think because they haven't had any interest in months and are keen to rent it) but they're worried that we won't keep up with the payments of 425 a month when I only earn 1200. I've explained I have done my sums and have a lump sum in the bank, but he says of course that doesn't really mean anything..I could spend it all on cars and gambling and not pay the rent and then it's very very hard to remove a non paying tenant in Spain, especially if they have small children.
There's still the other agent to chase up and the private rental but I don't think the private rental is suitable for small children with the access to the terrifying metal stairs to the roof and I expect I'll run into the same problems with the other agent as regards to not earning enough.
Really scared now that we won't be able to get out until DH gets a job, and who knows when that will be.
I cannot believe how stupid I was to sell my house. I may have ended up trapping us.

I might be suggesting something completely unfeasible but is there anyway that you could pay 6/12 months rent upfront out of your savings? That way your wages would cover everything else, I know that it eat up a huge chunk of your savings but it might be a way out of your mums house.

EmmelineGoulden Tue 08-Jan-13 11:44:39

bad that must be a bitter disappointment. Can you offer a larger deposit or to pay a year in advance?

badtoworse Tue 08-Jan-13 11:48:01

Good idea...will ask the agent.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Tue 08-Jan-13 12:24:36

Hello badtoworse
I have only just read your thread, took quite a while. My goodness what a rollercoaster, no surprise you feel drained. Very pleased for you the scales have fallen from your eyes! You are brave to reassess and move forward. Wonderful support here. Here's hoping a fresh start is just around the corner. Then maybe you'll feel able to change your nn. Courage and good luck.

pictish Tue 08-Jan-13 12:31:49

Bad news about the apartment.

I definitely second offering rent in advance - you have got to get out of there!

badtoworse Tue 08-Jan-13 12:53:00

Have told the agent to ask if they'd accept a year's rent in advance. Will hopefully hear something this afternoon. Feeling a bit teary and scared about the future. I'm right to try and move, aren't I? Have started to wonder if I got my hopes up too much and maybe we should wait til DH can find work, but that could be a very long time yet. Feel like my life has taken such a monumental twist this last month. I even looked into trying to buy but we'd have to use all our savings as a deposit and then we'd still have a mortgage to pay and no safety net, so don't think that's an option. Feeling a bit trapped, like she's got me over a barrel.

lizzypuffs Tue 08-Jan-13 13:01:25

Im so sorry to hear about the apartment. Hopefully they will accept an advance payment. You will not be trapped and please don't blame yourself. You are doing so very well. Keep strong.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Tue 08-Jan-13 13:02:01

And breathe... yes you are right to move, you have to for your sake, plus DH has been a saint.

Fingers crossed the agent calls back this afternoon.

(Was there a house on at 410 with a rooftop terrace, on the same street as the place you looked at for 380 back on Boxing Day?).

badtoworse Tue 08-Jan-13 13:04:39

yes, a flat for 410 with another agent. I will ring him tomorrow and try to see it if this 425 house falls through this afternoon. I'm just worried that we'll come up against the same problem...although the agent seemed to think it was just this owner (older couple a bit picky about tenants) who were being unusually cautious. have to go to work and try to buck myself up a bit as it's mostly teens today and I need to be on the ball with them.

Anniegetyourgun Tue 08-Jan-13 13:11:16

You are totally right to move now. DH is far more likely to impress potential employers if he is not ground down by living with critical MIL! Besides, she's adversely affecting DS's behaviour. She will cope, but if she doesn't, you're only round the corner. (Anyway, moving to another country never got her off your neck, so moving a short step away isn't going to stop her. Would the landlords allow you to put up gun turrets?)

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