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.

Update on my stingy MIL post if anyone remembers

(270 Posts)
tabbycat15 Fri 16-Aug-13 04:03:12

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/relationships/a1803878-Stingey-MIL-makes-me-feel-like-an-outsider

I might be repeating some things in this msg but my previous post is a long thread.

Well we broached the subject but were told that they hadn't factored in paying us anything & made it such a big deal that it costs so much for them to come & see us that they can't afford to give us anything. They are coming business class & they are not that hard up for money. They said that they had to have their roof fixed & BIL is living there rent free/unemployed & what with his baby coming along they have to buy things for him.

We have worked out that we will be about $1000 out of pocket when they stay. The fleeced us with rent, never helped us out when we had no money & had to buy food/nappies on our credit card. They never bought DS anything like a cot or pram when he was born.

When we lived there she wouldn't let us do our washing in her machine even though we bought it. She said I don't think my machine will cope with all your washing so we had to take it to the launderette. This was 21 years ago & we were charged 170 pounds each rent for staying there.

I am so angry that I have the inlaws from hell. I've only ever been nice to them. Mil never helped out with DS or helped me at home. I was really ill with PND & have no parents. They lived 5 mins away but just didn't want to know. They only ever had DS twice when he was sick & couldn't go to the childminder. I had to pay the childminder & MIL charged me by the hour as well to have him for a few hours. I had to go into work as I had no other choice.

The only time MIL ever rang was when she wanted her beauty treatment done for free. When ever they came to our house we would be in waiting for them. They never rang the door bell, just walked straight in with our key. We had a key for their house but always rang the bell as wouldn't have just walked in.

If we went up for dinner I was told what I had to provide. I usually had to cook the dinner & bring it up with me. I can understand bringing so wine or something but not the main course. Xmas we had to buy everything except the turkey & take it up with us. She would make a point of telling us how big the turkey was & how much it costs.
She wouldn't feed DS at all when he was there. We had to bring all his food & drink with us.

I really have the stingist inlaws. I'm glad we are in Australia now as now I realise how bad they treated us.

Anniegetyourgun Sun 25-Aug-13 17:56:42

Dear Fred and Rose

grin

mathanxiety Sun 25-Aug-13 16:52:46

I wish you'd let "us" try to help you by explaining what you fear will happen if you stood up to them.

Me too Tabby.
What is the worst thing that could happen in the event of a confrontation?

What is it in confrontation itself that gives you a feeling of dread?

What are you hoping to achieve in not rocking the boat in this relationship?

What are you afraid of losing if this relationship changes or ends?

LoisPuddingLane Fri 23-Aug-13 08:18:25

How about this as a starting point for a letter/email to the parents in law (leaving out the parts in brackets):

Dear Fred and Rose (or...whatever their names are)

We are all looking forward to seeing you later this year (not entirely true but it gets things off to a good start). I know that in previous years we have been in a position to give you a real holiday experience, free from worry about housework, meals, and money.

Unfortunately we are not in a position to do this any more. I'm sure you will understand how expensive it is to have people staying for a several weeks. With BiL's recent bad news, I'm wondering if the plan is also to bring him with you, which would put further strain on our finances.

I feel certain that the last thing you would want would be for your grandchildren to go without essentials - and this is what it would mean if we were to host you for six weeks without any financial contribution from you.

Therefore I would ask you, please, to contribute $xxx per person who will be staying with us, to cover your food and lodging for the time you are here. I understand that you are spending a lot of money coming here, and we do appreciate this. What we are asking for is that you contribute the sum of money you would be spending on normal day to day living in the UK.

Your affectionate daughter in law

Tabby

I hope you are still here lurking Tabby, I understand a little of how you feel.

You have been bullied for so long that to stand up to them and face their response must seem a terrifying prospect. It truly is the only way to stop them, as you have probably realised, so that leaves you feeling more trapped, and attacked by some of the posters who are trying to get you to make that move.

Do you recognise these quotes?

If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you always got, and you'll always feel what you always felt.

"If you don't change the way you do things, live your life, or make decisions, you will never grow or mature or feel better about life as a whole. You have to be the change you want to see in your life."

I truly hope you can find a counsellor who can help you to find the courage to take those steps flowers

perfectstorm Thu 22-Aug-13 21:25:47

Tabby, I honestly don't think anyone thinks this is easy. At all. It's the hardest thing any of us can ever do, stand up to relatives who damaged us and risk damaging our kids. It's just that gently supporting you while you continue to be abused isn't actually helpful, IMO. You deserve more and so do your kids, but from all you've posted, you don't value yourself and your rights much - but you're a bloody good mum who would lie in traffic for her kids. That's all I, and I am sure other people, mean. That this is the emotional equivalent of lying in traffic, and we do get that, but that is perhaps the best choice, for everyone other than your poor DH's appalling birth family.

Honestly, nobody can wish you anything but luck. You've been through so much. But it is hard watching you allow people to treat you and yours this way. You all deserve infinitely better.

Littleen Thu 22-Aug-13 17:45:52

You need to either charge them for staying or tell them to find a hotel. I'd cut contact with these people, as they are not role models for your children, your mother in law sounds like a spawn of satan, excuse my saying. Make them a bill atleast. What does your husband say about it all?

Jux Thu 22-Aug-13 16:54:21

It's a shame that you can't afford solution-focused therapy, and that as a result you can't say no to these people who are fleecing you, as a result of which you can't afford more therapy.....

If you can gird your loins and tell them that they are really going to have to pay their way this time, then you would save a lot of money which you can put to much better use.

Do you see the vicious cycle you are in?

When you are on the phone to them, have an absorbing book with you, have your piece prepared - written down if it will help - say it. Read your book until they've wound down, say your piece again. Say goodbye.

ZorbaTheHoarder Thu 22-Aug-13 14:16:09

I just wonder why your husband does not seem able to do more to protect you from his parents' horrible ways. Why has he not stepped in over the years to tell them where to get off? He must be aware of all the stress and unhappiness that their behaviour is causing you, but appears to be leaving you to deal with the fallout.

I really feel for you, Tabby, and I know it can be very, very difficult to break the patterns of a lifetime and stand up for yourself, but it is actually within your power to say "I am not putting up with this nonsense any more".

As many other posters have pointed out, refusing to take their bullying any more is not going to make things worse for you - THEY CANNOT GET ANY WORSE! If you find a way of cutting them out of your life, things will start looking a lot better for you!

I sincerely hope you find the courage you need.

LoisPuddingLane Thu 22-Aug-13 14:08:05

I think that is a very fair post, catsmother.

Realistically, Tabby is not likely to do something so outside her comfort zone or character as to forbid the inlaws from staying and just handing them hotel information.

But hopefully we can help Tabby to state in a firm way that putting up two or maybe three adults for 6 weeks, and doing all their housework, is just not possible.

catsmother Thu 22-Aug-13 12:26:16

I think most of us with this thread on our minds feel incredibly sorry for Tabby, and desperately want to help. I guess anything which seems "harsh" has been written from a "tough love" perspective because quite clearly this situation isn't going to be solved with any sort of "softly softly" approach - PILs seemingly don't have a "better nature" to appeal to - and unfortunately, neither do any of us have a magic wand to wave.

PunkHedgehog's list idea is a great one. This is all about tackling Tabby's fear and so far, she hasn't really identified what frightens her so much about the idea of confronting them and asserting her right to be treated with consideration and respect (plus her DH and kids). I've mentioned a couple of times now that she needs to try and put into words what she fears might happen were she to truly and unmistakeably stand up for herself but she hasn't - and it is frustrating when we all want to help her to help herself. Saying "it's not as easy as that" is a given - we all appreciate that, really we do and have great sympathy. Standing up to bullies is never easy or simple, but the fact remains that nothing will be achieved simply by continually repeating that it's not easy - other than, I suppose, the momentary relief which comes from sounding off about someone who's unreasonable.

There really is, sad to say, nothing more we can do other than agree how awful this situation is unless Tabby bites the bullet and shares her fears. It's absolutely safe for her to do so here - it's anonymous of course, we aren't the PILs, and she'll undoubtedly receive a wide variety of different suggestions for how to cope, how to make things less scary, tactics for asserting herself and so on, as well as reassurance about how much better she'd feel if she could prevent this impending visit happening in the way it always has done previously (or at all for that matter). There are 4 months (ish) until the Christmas visit - that's a lot of time in which Tabby could work on this - and I can guarantee there are lots of MNers who'd be willing to run with Tabby and handhold however long it takes - so long as she too is willing to take steps towards sorting it out.

I really really do feel for you Tabby. I personally spent many years dreading ever running into a close relative because of their attitude and nastiness and no, it wasn't quick and easy to "get rid" so to speak. So I think I can say that I do have some little understanding of how you feel. But I wish you'd let "us" try to help you by explaining what you fear will happen if you stood up to them.

LoisPuddingLane Thu 22-Aug-13 12:21:24

Seriously if you want a (non joky) letter drafted, I'm sure people here can help. At the moment you are on course for at least six weeks of misery and resentment and anger.

Confronting parents (or in laws) is never, ever easy. They will, probably, try to blame you, or defend their own actions or, when all else fails, turn on your personally. But none of it is about you - they are fucked up people. Charging for the childcare of your grandchild is one of the meanest things I've eve heard.

unobtanium Thu 22-Aug-13 11:55:25

I feel sorry for tabby. She's not being weak; she is in an incredibly difficult situation and getting no help from her dh.

The incessant and increasingly shrill scolding and warnings concerning how this is likely to scar her children are unfair.

We can't all step in here and tell her what she should do. If only it were that easy, one of her many therapists would have solved the whole thing by now.

Best of luck tabby, you are under unfair pressure from all sides here and I really hope you get the right support at the right time to help you through this. If you find a way to stand up to these people and make their (inevitable) stay unpleasant, I will be thrilled for you.

PunkHedgehog Thu 22-Aug-13 11:43:33

" I have seen 5 psychologists, 3 counsellors, 2 psychiatrists & currently see a psychologist that is funded from an eating disorders foundation. I have told them all about my childhood & not one has ever really helped. They just listen & nod but never give me any coping strategies."

When you are able to afford more therapy (next Medicare year), make sure you get 'solution-focussed therapy', such as CBT. You seem to have doen't a lot of delving into your past - you know what the problems where there. What you need is to stop looking at that and to find ways to make your future better. Not 'tell me about your mother' but 'when X makes you feel Y, what can you do to change your reaction?'.

We had some assertiveness training at work, and they pointed out that a lot of people say 'yes' rather than 'no' because they don't like confrontation. But avoiding a small confrontation of saying 'no' to work you don't have time to do actually leads to a much bigger confrontation later when you haven't done it. The same applies outside work - a small difficult thing now can save a much larger difficult thing later.

Take a piece of paper. Draw a line down the middle to make two columns. On the left write down what frightens you about having the 'pay us money or don't visit' conversation. On the right put what frightens you about the visit (remember to include the stress before they arrive, what happens when they are actually there, and the financial strain after they go home).

Compare the length of those two lists. Which is actually more difficult: saying no, or saying yes?

tabbycat15 Thu 22-Aug-13 11:07:41

Thank you SDTGisAnEvilWolefGenius I think that is exactly how I feel.

I think this thread is getting very long but I am finding some of the comments harsh. If it was as easy as people have said I would have done something by now.

I appreciate all the replies but I won't be posting anymore.

WeAreEternal Thu 22-Aug-13 11:06:29

Wait a few weeks and then tell them that due to financial hardship you are having to take in some lodgers as you need the money.
And as a result there will be no room for them to stay with you.
But you have research some hotels that are not too far away (but not too close either).

Remember the MN mantra, 'no is a complete sentence'
And just repeat that there is nothing you can do.

Ask a few fronds to pretend that they are living with you when the ILs visit.

You could even claim to have ha to move all of the DCs into one room and be sleeping on the sofa so that you can rent out all of the bedrooms.

Or you could push it further and say that you are having to rent out your house as you can't afford the mortgage and are staying with friends. Then they really can't stay.

I can really sympathise with having evil ILs.
I'm so sorry that you have to put up with them after the awful foster parents that you had.

perfectstorm Thu 22-Aug-13 10:43:29

They are stealing from you, and you're stealing from your own kids, in effect, to fund that. And you are also teaching your kids to allow people to abuse you without a murmur.

You are an adult. You have the power to change this situation. No, it's not that easy. It's excruciatingly hard. But that isn't an excuse for not doing it - a lot of things you have to do for your kids are excruciatingly hard, that's the deal.

You are allowing your in-laws to financially abuse your children and are failing to protect them from that abuse. I'm sorry, but that's the reality.

ihearsounds Thu 22-Aug-13 10:30:48

No you don't wait for the dust to settle. You deal with the issue now.

You tell them again they need to cough up cash for their stay. You listen to their excuses. You assert yourself and say well yes that may be so, but this is the situation. Either you are paying your way or don't bother coming. By paying for your way I mean you contribute towards all household expenses. You do your own laundry. You hire your own car. Don't expect me to run around after you. Don't expect us to take you places. If these terms are not acceptable, either don't come or book yourselves into a hotel.

They will continue about how much it has cost, yadda yadda. Be more assertive and tell them what part of you cannot afford to have them stay do they not understand. The flight is not your problem. They should have considered all the costs of a holiday, not just the flight. If they cannot afford daily costs then they cannot afford a holiday and what you are understanding is that they will not be coming because they cannot afford reasonable expenses.

They are very selfish and don't give a shit that their stay will take food from their gc's mouths. Stop being such a doormat.

expatinscotland Thu 22-Aug-13 10:28:23

And that cycle is either broken or it's not. But you have to want to break it. Continually enabling, for whatever reason, is just that.

I think that is a bit harsh, expat. I see tabbycat as being emotionally and practically paralysed - in a similar way to someone in a DV relationship. Which, in a sense, she is. Her PIL have abused her, over a number of years, and she feels utterly stuck in the pattern of things the way they are.

We can all see what she needs to do, and from outside, it does look very simple - send the PIL any one of the messages that have been suggested on this thread, basically telling them that the OP cannot afford to host them for 6 weeks, and isn't prepared to put up with their shit any longer - but it is very clear to me how difficult the OP is actually finding this.

I would love the chance to be a sort of anti-mediator in these kinds of situation - I would happily ring up/email/write to tabbycat's in-laws, and tell them exactly where they get off, on her behalf. But I am not sure that would help tabby.

expatinscotland Thu 22-Aug-13 09:57:03

' so i don't think tomorrow we can start talking money until the dust settles.'

Dust settles on what? You have accepted they are coming, staying with you, you will spend $1000 on them and have accepted they are bringing BIL with them and you're paying for him, too.

Where are your kids in this?

You are setting an example for your kids that it is okay to be abused.

until the dust settles? Your ILs are going to milk this one. Why? Because they know they can abuse you both. You and your DH continually enable them in this.

And your kids are taking every bit of it on board.

expatinscotland Thu 22-Aug-13 09:53:51

You two seem to continually run into excuses to be passive and put up with their shit. It's working for you, somehow, to be a victim.

Hissy Thu 22-Aug-13 07:44:24

Erm, insensitive? No way!

You know she thought the GF was a gold digger at best!

BIL and his GF is tragic, awful, but doesn't actually have a single thing to do with the fact that your IL are going to come, regardless, and cost you a fortune you don't have!

They are coming because they want to. (for them, not to see you/family)

They are flying Business, because they want to.

They chose to charge you stupid amounts of money, we're stingy and mean when you stayed with them.

You don't have the spare money to fund their jolly.

The phrase to practice is: "We've looked at our situation, and can't afford to host an extended visit. As there's a précédent set here, you can either pay US the 170 quid a week you charged us, or we can book you into a B&B."

As their flights are business, they can be cancelled, transferred, changed without penalty.

They could cut short their trip to 2weeks for example.

If they won't pay up, you can tell them that they can stay for 2 weeks, but no longer, and you'll transfer them to a hotel for any remainder.

DeckSwabber Thu 22-Aug-13 07:30:56

I'm with you on that, Tabby. It would be insensitive.

tabbycat15 Thu 22-Aug-13 07:20:50

I was going to go over the replies this weekend but this has been some sad news so i don't think tomorrow we can start talking money until the dust settles.

Tortoiseonthehalfshell Thu 22-Aug-13 07:15:12

I'm sad for your BIL as well, but you are still sounding so very very passive. What are you going to say to them tomorrow? All this passive voice about 'seeing what's said'... why don't you stop seeing what's said, and say things?

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