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How to deal with MIL? Depressing just thinking about it.

(37 Posts)
LittleMissMedium Mon 20-May-13 16:04:18

It's so stereotypical and I hate it, but I do not have a good relationship with MIL. There's never been an out-and-out confrontation between us (only her an DH), but it's just there, bubbling away under the surface.

I have finally reached my boiling point after 4 years of her bullshit (she's upset that me and DH are getting a mortgage, she doesn't talk to him much now we're married, she was FOUL on our wedding day - to mention a few recent issues) and there's literally nothing I can do to make this situation better.

I've tried with her, I really, really have. DH is her only child, so I completely get that it's difficult to let go. But it just feels like a constant unspoken battle between us as she tries to act like he's still a little boy whilst we're building our life together.

DH says he doesn't love her. This is v sad, but there relationship is strange. He doesn't want to cut her out of his life or anything, but she is very poisonous and it is exhausting going over there - she constantly refers to his old girlfriends, how she doesn't want to be a grandmother, and generally criticises our life.

The reason I'm asking for some advice is that we're TTC, but it's making me really upset to think of her around any DC we may have. I know that's unreasonable, but she's really so horrible to me and about my family that it just gets me down that this woman is in my life. I don't get how my DH came from her, because he is truly wonderful. He is v supportive and puts her in her place when she is rude to me, but it never changes anything in the long run.

So - do you have a relationship like this? How have you dealt with it and how do you manage it with your DCs around?

LittleMissMedium Mon 20-May-13 18:35:52

Thanks Milly smile

Fairylea Mon 20-May-13 18:37:35

Gosh this sounds so familiar!

I will reply in more detail later but I have a similar thread in relationships called "dh and I not really talking, probably my fault" or something along those lines.

I really feel for you.

forgetmenots Mon 20-May-13 18:59:49

DH really struggled littlemiss. He has been NC for about 18 months (only a few weeks after that thread actually), after a final incident where his mother threatened to kill herself (not for the first time) in a dramatic manner. He had spent years trying everything and everything failed.
She did turn up at our home announced, battering on windows, screaming through the letterbox, and DH would be visibly terrified, but we just ignored it. We've now moved and not shared the address, and his long term health issues have all but disappeared (funny, that!)

He is still hurt that his dad won't have anything to do with him unless it's sanctioned by MIL, but if anything he is now angrier with him than her as he sees that he has done as a cold and callous choice by a rational person while his mum is clearly not rational or thinking (I think this is probably overrating things, but it's how he feels).

Given though that his mother repeatedly has wished ill on any children we might have and has said she 'doesn't give a shit' about being a grandmother, we feel rather we are respecting her opinion grin - apologies for the gallows humour but it's got us through!

Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries are all I can offer. Any kindhearted reduction in them is seen as weakness and opportunity. I feel so sorry for your DH. Good luck ttc, if he is anything like my DH this will be the trigger - realising you want the opposite for your children that you had can be pretty sobering.

LittleMissMedium Mon 20-May-13 19:18:05

Thanks Fairylea, will have a look. I'm finding it's making things clearer by reading other people's stories.

forgetmenots That sounds awful. Truly awful. So glad you and your DH are no longer exposed to that. I do think that FILs that allow the behaviour are letting their children down... My FIL is a nice man, soft, quiet... but even he seems to believe her bullshit now, which is equally as bad.

Boundaries it is. It's just such a head-fuck (excuse my language) because to other people, she's sweetness and light (initially). She will sometimes be lovely in front of DH and you can see on his face that he's like, wow, this is progress, then she'll be in a room alone with me (I've asked that this doesn't happen, but on a few occasions it's been unavoidable) and the spite starts. Or she just stares at me when I try and make conversation. It's truly unnerving sometimes.

Anything to do with us moving forward in our lives and everything changes. It's sad because my friends all have, for the most part, really good relationships with their MILs. DH has a great relationship with my DM (even better than mine!!) which is great but I know I will never have that with her. I started this thread with that in mind but I can just see that is not going to happen.

forgetmenots Mon 20-May-13 19:24:28

Just remember littlemiss that it isn't personal (Attila phrased this much better upthread) - she doesn't hate you or have a problem with you as a person. You're coming before her in the pecking order with her son and as such you're a barrier to her emotional vampirism where she wants to bleed everyone dry. Unfortunately DCs can often be seen in the same light.

You sound lovely and supportive, your DH is I'm sure a lovely person too (and the fact that he stands up for you is huge, not many children of toxic parents have that strength, certainly not without a long process). You can't change her, she will only change the day she wants to - but you and your DH can live well and be happy regardless smile

SoulTrain Mon 20-May-13 19:38:18

Honestly, if you can - try to care less. I know it's hard but if you continue to let her have such an affect on you it will only be you that suffers. As a previous poster said, she will go one way or another with DC involved and that's when you're really going to have learn to be clever. Distance yourself, don't ask opinions, don't seek validation from your MIL, just concentrate on you and your DH.

And if she fucks you off, tell her. Honestly, you'll feel massively high fivey with yourself and even if nothing changes you will feel better.

LittleMissMedium Mon 20-May-13 19:39:17

Thank you, I feel so much better for starting this thread. It's nice to know that other people understand how bloody stressful it can be thanks

LittleMissMedium Mon 20-May-13 19:40:15

SoulTrain that made me laugh! High fivey! Oh god I just see her face now! It would be totally worth it.

maillotjaune Mon 20-May-13 19:57:22

Gosh that story is familiar - my MIL has had long periods of time not talking to us, saying she hoped we didn't have children, didn't see DS1 until he was almost 1.... it's a long, boring list of problems.

20 years into marriage and with our oldest DS now 10 I think we have finally got to a situation I can tolerate. No better than that.

She lives overseas - but threatening to return to UK which would be hard!

She is more unpleasant to DH than me but we always call her on it after years of trying to ignore. She won't discuss anything but pointing out that she is being unreasonable generally stops it.

She spends time with her DGSs and they enjoy each other's company for a while. She has a history of letting them down in terms of not turning up when she said she would, and saying unkind things about DH to them, but again we don't just ignore it.

Most importantly - I accept (and DH is getting there) that she will never change. She's in her 70s and if she was ever going to become less difficult it would have happened ling ago.

Actually, maybe the most important thing is that I am saying "we" a lot - I think if it's really a MIL / DIL clash life can get very tricky, but if you and your partner are in agreement you just need to find a way to live with her (or not if that's what you decide) and you will cope.

Sorry for such a long reply - my MIL has arrived to visit this week so it has touched a nerve!

maillotjaune Mon 20-May-13 20:07:27

I posted before reading the whole thread but now I have it is spooky how many other things I could have said that have been mentioned already - it has been years since she was shouting through the letterbox, but playing the victim came to a head when DH was diagnosed with cancer last year but it was all about her.

The only relief we have is that she and FIL divorced when DH was young so there is noone else involved.

LittleMissMedium Mon 20-May-13 21:02:46

maillot thanks for sharing your story, it's so interesting to see how similar the behaviour is. You're right about us needing to be a united front, and thankfully my DH is wonderful and has never been anything other than supportive and apologetic (the latter I find very sad and wish he wouldn't apologise for her, because it's not his fault. He knows this really I think).

I read something on another thread just that was just so freaky - MIL puts on a baby voice sometimes when talking to DH... Not quite sure why, it annoys the hell out of him and he doesn't respond to it, but another poster mentioned it and it just makes me feel horrible. It's like the most childish form of an attempt at manipulation.

I spoke to my DM about it this evening and she is in agreement with quite a few of the posters here that she will not get better when there are DCs in the equation, only worse.

forgetmenots Mon 20-May-13 21:35:53

Bloody hell maillot you have the patience of a saint smile

Your DM will likely be worried for you both and for her future grandkids littlemiss. Mine only told me recently how upsetting and stressful she found watching what MIL did to us as a couple as she didn't want to interfere at the time. I totally understood it must have been difficult to see.

I'm glad posting has been a help. Good to vent, isn't it! smile

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