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.

MIL playing silly buggers

(30 Posts)
AdorableAardvark Tue 23-Jul-13 10:27:48

Last week end we spent the night with my DH's parents. MIL takes offence at the slightest blimp e.g. didn't answer the phone when called, didn't send a distant relative a Christmas card (who never sends us one), didn't give her enough compliments on her outfit etc. etc. It's all my fault of course. I work p/t, have young children to look after, do all the household chores and cooking but I should also be my DH's secretary and diplomat to his side of the family. He has diplomatic immunity for everything. Anyway my MIL has started to do this thing which is REALLY irritating. Whenever we talk on skype or meet and I say hello, she then drops her gaze to the floor, there is at least a 1,2,3,4,5 second delay, then she says in a low, pissed off voice "oh hello". It's as if she doesn't want to say hello, but is eventually forced into it so as not to look bad. She has done this over the past few months. This is the main thing irritating me and I need some witty retorts to show herI'm not fussy (to hide fact that I am). We are also moving house to a bigger one and she told me at the weekend "well I won't be staying there".

Is my MIL being passive aggressive or should I ignore ignore ignore or fight fire with fire.

Just stop bothering with her. Let dh organise any contact with her - I'll bet that'll cut the frequency right down. And you don't have to take part, either.

When you're with her, and she's moaning / ignoring you or whatever, you have to work on not caring. Start by pretending you're in a play, and you're acting the part of someone who couldn't care less. If you're being ignored, get your phone out and text a friend (or text dh, you could play MIL bingo). If she's moaning, look past her left ear and mumble "mmm, pity, mmm" in a vague not-listening way while composing your next shopping list in your head. Then interrupt and comment brightly on the weather.

Kundry Tue 23-Jul-13 17:45:47

My MIL is actually quite sweet but we suffer badly from what AmandaP describes. I'm the bigger wage earner, I bought the bloody house, I work more hours, I cook all the meals but god forbid we don't send a nephew a birthday present. Because it will all be my fault.

SO I don't phone her, if she does phone I pass it to DH or say he isn't in and close the conversation quickly, I don't suggest to DH we should visit or that he should phone. Funnily enough it almost never occurs to her precious son to phone her. Result - detachment!

After the birthday saga I made it clear that we had decided we would each do our own family's birthdays.

Taking my mum round to visit her also helped. After 45 minutes of how wonderful DH was, my mum was furious and remembered she was a mother too so gave a lengthy monologue back about how busy I was, how many qualifications I had, the fact that we were not going to run our marriage like PIL had run theirs and all the other topics MIL likes to drone on about. It was great to see my mum in action (I was like battle of the tiger mothers grin and MIL has been a bit more polite since.

If MIL does request something now, we make it instantly clear who is responsible (clue - it's always DH) so she can't get the wrong end of the stick.

EldritchCleavage Wed 24-Jul-13 17:26:33

Her other children, including a daughter don't include her in anything

I bet they don't! Learn from them. You've tried, she's been awful, let all efforts cease.

I suppose scapegoating is just her. She must have learned it from somewhere (dodgy parents?) and now it is ingrained.

I would tell your DH it's nothing doing, and simply drop calling, writing or inviting. He can do contact, if he wants any (all contact, including thank you cards from your DC, everything).

buildingmycorestrength Wed 24-Jul-13 20:02:56

Sometimes it can help to articulate what you want really clearly and formally, so that you can really clearly and formally recognise deep down that you won t get it. Then you can grieve and move on.

Sounds a bit woo, but my therapist recommended that I design a ritual for letting go of my hopes for my relationship with my own parents. It helped so much. I wrote down all sorts of hopes (like your 'let's be mates' wish), big and small, on slips of paper, and then fed them one by one to the fire. Wept buckets, obviously, but it was a total turning point. And it meant the fears went too. Recommend.

buildingmycorestrength Wed 24-Jul-13 20:04:18

Oh, and I have a perfectly civil relationship with my parents, have not gone no contact or anything. The emotional pressure is much lower and I can manage a relationship with them by detaching like this.

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