Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Serious MIL issue...wants to buy one child but not the other for Xmas!!

(58 Posts)
RubyTuesday123 Thu 15-Nov-12 12:49:39

I'll try to be brief...my partner and I seperated for 3m earlier this year after an array of issues. After a lot of soul searching and discussion my partner asked to try again - I said yes for a number of reasons and overall things are going well, slow and steady steps. However, my MIL is refusing to acknowledge his decision to return and is saying that me and my other daughter (aged 10, from a previous relationship) are not welcome in her home (she blames me for our split, we both 'wronged' one another in different ways) on halloween my partner took both girls to see her and she ignored my eldest daughter and FIL asked eldest to move out of the way so he could take a picture of our little one!! When they got back, my partner told me what had happened and was shocked and embarrassed by his parent's behaviour. He said that he would speak to them and felt like he was in 'the middle' which I can understand as I was furious - I'd of gone to see her about it but I wouldn't give her anything to twist or manipulate against me.

However, when he went round she had company and he decided it was inappropriate to bring it up at that point. Anyway...today she has text asking what our youngest would like for Christmas and he has replied 'are you buying for ...' to which she text back 'why?' he then said 'they are both my children, if you don't buy for one then don't buy for the other' to which she replied that she is NOT buying presents for me or my eldest child. I am livid - I am not concerned about actually recieving gifts but its the insinuation that you can treat two sisters differently because one is not her son's is shocking. I can't help but feel she has targeted eldest to get a rise out of me. I have never argued with this woman and when we split literally didn't go anywhere in our local area as I just wanted to deal with the situation in the most dignified manner - access and matenence were both dealt with swifty and as amicably as possible.

What do I do?? Advice please!!

BlueberryHill Thu 15-Nov-12 13:36:32

That is an awful thing to do to a child, to hurt a child to get at an adult. It is toxic. I haven't been in this situation, what would happen if your DH were to stand up to her (he sounds as though he can do it) and state that either the two children are treated the same, presents, attention and affection, or they don't see either child. You both then stick to this, your OH has to follow through and not take the children to see them at all.

EugenesAxe Thu 15-Nov-12 13:44:55

I find things like this utterly repugnant.

I'm sorry for your DH but I agree with everyone saying cut contact. I can't understand people who cannot be objective about people they have a blood relation with. It doesn't make them paragons of virtue and everyone else evil.

Parents should support grown-up children and not undermine their decisions like this; it fucks me off mightily. I hope I never do it.

RubyTuesday123 Thu 15-Nov-12 19:09:44

We're going to talk about it later - I simply cannot tolerate this treatment of my daughter. I don't think she is concerned about the effects on either of my children or her son for that matter. She clearly places herself above me and my children in terms of her sons affections/loyalty and because he was unable to challenge her over her behaviour on halloween in her head its almost as though her actions have been condoned.

PoppadomPreach Thu 15-Nov-12 19:13:22

I'm speechless that a grown woman would take out her animosity towards you (whether warranted or not) on a 10 year old. Appalling behaviour.

Agree you should say it's both or nothing. The are children for FFS.

RubyTuesday123 Thu 15-Nov-12 19:25:41

I'd relish a face-to-face airing of differences to get to the bottom of this once and for all. However, as is often the case with cowards it's easier to ignore me, pretend we don't exsist, target a child and lock up her ivory tower.

wheremommagone Fri 16-Nov-12 07:16:28

Op, this makes me feel so sad. I was your little girl 20 or so years ago. I was the only child from my mums first marriage and she went on to have three more children with my step dad. His parents never accepted me. I can remember reading Christmas cards they had sent and feeling awful that my name wasn't on it. I wish my mum had thought to address it as you are doing. I feel quite resentful towards my mum sometimes but this is just one of many things that happened in my childhood. You might not be able to change your mils attitude but just be sure your eldest knows you addressed it when she is old enough to understand. For now I would try to hide the situation from her to protect her feelings.

tribpot Fri 16-Nov-12 07:51:27

As the child of a blended family, I can only stress how right your instincts are in this, OP. It is essential that your children are treated equally within their blended family and if your MIL is not prepared to do that, she must not be given any opportunity to hurt your older dd by snubbing her.

It sounds like your DP is firmly on side with this, which is good. It needs to come from him.

avivabeaver Fri 16-Nov-12 09:50:49

MIL sounds toxic- i have a colleague in a similar situation- her eldest son is treated differently by partners parents even though there is less than 2 years between them.

But- you and your dp are on the same side. he is leading the battle and doing all the right things. Do not let it get to you. MIL will either back down or stands to lose her relationship with her son and grandchild. She cannot win unless you let her.

RubyTuesday123 Sat 17-Nov-12 00:19:34

You think that she would realise this, but she wont. Even today I got home and was cooking dinner and my OH told me that she'd text again saying 'when does the youngest get home from boarding school?' I can't work out if she's saying this because youngest is in full time childcare as we both work full time or because she is insinuating that she hasn't saw her for a while - since Halloween. I was furious and insisted that he go and speak to her immediately as the more she goes unchallenged the worse she is getting. He went but she was out, I feel awful putting him in the middle but I'm insistent that he goes tomorrow. I can literally feel my blood boiling!!

" Ifeel awful putting him in the middle"
You are not putting him in the middle. She is. Without her behaviour, 'middle' would not exist.

BerylStreep Sat 17-Nov-12 01:36:57

Ignore, ignore, ignore.

She wants a reaction.

Ignore.

Get D to tell her that unless she treats both DC equally, any pressie from her will be unopened and sent to charity.

Then ignore some more.

BerylStreep Sat 17-Nov-12 01:37:10

DH

RubyTuesday123 Sat 17-Nov-12 14:59:06

I am trying desperately to ignore them but today both of my SIL's got in touch with OH to see what they can get the youngest, he tried to ring them but they didn't answer so he promptly text back 'if your not buying for one then don't bother for the other, I might not be eldest's father but I've been like her dad for 5yrs' they haven't even bothered to reply back!!

tribpot Sat 17-Nov-12 15:02:51

I suppose it's possible this was just a coincidence rather than a concerted attack by your in-laws, but either way you need to shut them out. Your DP has made his feelings clear by text, it is now up to them what they choose to do about this.

strumpetpumpkin Sat 17-Nov-12 15:06:08

Id avoid the old sow and refuse to let either girl see her at all

RubyTuesday123 Sat 17-Nov-12 15:13:07

How do I go about it? Do I tell them that effectively I'm denying access or leave them to figure it out for themselves? I was thinking what if OH took youngest round for an hour a week? But then I think what right does she have? And it would be condoning her behaviour! It was in no way a coincidence that my SIL's got in touch - they're far too calculating for that and trying to prove a point.

drizzlecake Sat 17-Nov-12 15:22:00

Ignore as Beryl says above.

But I would go further and stop their txts. Or ask DP to either stop reading their txts or to stop telling you what they say. Sounds like a concerted effort by MIL to bring SILs on board. What a malicious bunch. And tell DP you don't want to know what spiteful comment she has made when he visits (unless it is directly effecting DD2).

What MIL is trying to do is punish you for having a relationship with DP, and as long as you are being distressed and angered by her behaviour she is succeeding. And we can't have that malicious old witch winning

So ignore.

It would be good if you could move away then cut contact. But that is possibly not feasible.

I would explain, in terms they would understnad,to DDs what is going on so that they know it is MIL and not them that's a problem and that you're sorry but there's not much you can do etc.

Sounds good that DP is limiting contact for DD2 and that you will chuck any presents not sent to both DDs. If you keep this up she will eventually back down unless she wants to risk having no contact with DP and DD2 in the future.

ledkr Sat 17-Nov-12 15:35:08

Utter bitch sorry.
Every year I buy two extra presents for my exh children he had with ow after leaving us. They are children and also my dc s half siblings. I have no concept of leaving a child out what a nasty bitter woman she must be.
Accept nothing and please protect dd 1 from this horrible deed

ledkr Sat 17-Nov-12 15:43:19

I had 2 dc when I married my ex and they were ignored by his grandparents and got less from his parents than our ds did. I once sent a thank you card to the gp from ALL the dc. When asked about it I told them that I always buy something and wrap it from them so they don't feel left out. They were like this blush

2rebecca Sat 17-Nov-12 16:13:21

If youaren't married then she isn't really your MIL and as her son is not the father of your eldest child she isn't that child's grandmother so it's not surprising that she just buys presents for her grandchildren. Your eldest child should get things from her father's parents..
My dad just buys something token for my (now adult) step kids and did so when they were younger. My stepkids have 2 sets of grandparents of their own. My inlaws do buy my kids presents although my ex's parents would rather they didn't buy them anything as they feel my inlaws are taking over a grandparenting role that isn't theirs.
You can't win.
Accept that as you aren't married your partner's parents don't regard you as part of their family, probably not helped by you and youir boyfriend having an on off relationship, and that your daughter has 2 sets of grandparents but they are different to your other daughter's grandparents.
His parents do sound as though they were nasty to your elder daughter and that would make me avoid them, they can still be nice to her even though she isn't their grand daughter.

2rebecca Sat 17-Nov-12 16:18:13

I would ignore the stroppy tests. I certainly wouldn't send my husband round to have an argument with his parents. She makes a stupid sarky remark by text it gets ignored and you don't contact her at all. If she gets in proper contact in person then your partner tells her he doesn't reply to nasty text messages and that if she wants to see her grandaughter then she has to start being a more pleasant person.

RubyTuesday123 Sat 17-Nov-12 16:38:07

@2rebecca - the fact we are not married is irrelevant nor have we had an on/off relationship. We split for 3m after 4.5 yrs together mainly because of uneven distribution of childcare/chores and finances (with me as the majority shareholder!) as I've said previously its not about the gift, it's the principle and the refusal to acknowledge that we are back together (happily since Aug) and the attempts to isolate a child.

RubyTuesday123 Sat 17-Nov-12 16:39:05

Just to add that my ex's family acknowledge that they are sisters.

Thanks to everyone for their posts and advice.

tribpot Sat 17-Nov-12 16:43:14

I would leave your DP to do what he thinks is best. His instincts seem to be in the right place. He can decide what access arrangements are reasonable at the moment, it doesn't have to be up to you.

ledkr Sat 17-Nov-12 17:41:08

2rebecca what a ridiculous thing to say. What about the child they share? Should she not get a present because she is illegitimate?
It's bloody rude to buy for one sibling and not another and plain nasty behaviour towards a child IMO.
I wouldn't buy for a friends child and not the others it would just be bad manners even if this woman feels the child is nothing to do with her then she should still buy a gift out of goodwill and kindness.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now