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Tricky MIL Situation, any advice?

(52 Posts)
ACowKickedFred Tue 17-Sep-13 00:49:59

My MIL has always been absolutely stark raving bonkers slightly eccentric, but recently it appears to be getting worse. Either that or I've reached breaking point and my tolerance level has fallen to zero. She acts all nice and caring but simmering underneath is a real bitchiness which is kept carefully hidden most of the time. She's visiting for a few weeks at the moment and I'm getting stabby already and she's only been here 3 days.

I have a daughter from my first marriage. She's 20 but is autistic so emotionally is more like a 12/13 year old. My husband is the only dad she has ever known. MIL seems to swing from being doting thoughtful grandma to behaviour which I'm struggling to find words to describe other than bloody weird.

Yesterday she decided to go to the local bakery to buy everyone a nice cake for afternoon tea. When teatime came round she got them out and we got to share her entire thought process as to why she chose that one for DH and this one for me and that one for FIL etc. But she didn't get one for my daughter because she didn't see one which she thought she'd like (daughter is a dustbin and will eat anything). Why would anyone think that was ok?

Then today she decided that we'd all like pancakes for dinner, she'd clearly thought about it a lot before travelling as she'd packed her pancake frying pan confused. She called my daughter down as she was about to cook them. My daughter sat at the kitchen table waiting for hers. She cooked one for FIL, one for DH, one for me, then another for FIL and DH (they were in the other room so unaware of her shenanigans), then tried to get me to take the next one. I kept saying that DD hadn't had one yet and she kept trying to avoid cooking her one and was doing them for everyone else. In the end I gave DD the second one she cooked for me. She then cooked more for herself, FIL and DH. Basically, if I hadn't have given DD mine she would have gone hungry.

I noticed that last time she visited that DD only seemed to get a half portion of meals on her plate. MIL was cooking as I'd just had a baby. I just thought she was rubbish at plating up evenly, but now I suspect she resents DD, possibly only surfacing following the birth of DS, her first blood grandchild. I also suspect she is trying to pretend she doesn't because if FIL notices he'll be very angry as he thinks the world of DD.

What should I do?

Jacksmania Tue 17-Sep-13 00:54:33

I don't suppose hitting her over the head with her pancake frying pan is an option?
Wow. I am just shock.

I'll see if I can come back and think of anything more helpful and less violent although it's clearly indicated.

Meanwhile, I hope I've given you a chuckle and bumped your thread.

Why didn't you say anything to any of these incidents? You don't have to be confrontational, just something to draw attention to her appalling behaviour.

Blondeorbrunette Tue 17-Sep-13 01:03:14

Next time she plates up a half portion, swap the plates.

Frying pan is plan b!

perfectstorm Tue 17-Sep-13 01:06:38

What does your DH say? Frankly, she's his mother and if she is treating his dsd that way, he needs to be the one to raise it with her and tell her it's utterly appalling behaviour.

Floralnomad Tue 17-Sep-13 01:12:14

Why not just ask the FIL if he thinks she is going senile and cite the examples you've given in your OP ,then he can deal with her . Otherwise I'd also be tempted to bash her with her pancake pan .

Jacksmania Tue 17-Sep-13 01:17:29

I'm so glad I'm not the only one who thinks frying pan=>head is a good idea grin

What Floralnomad said!

ACowKickedFred Tue 17-Sep-13 01:25:37

She does it in such a weird, none obvious way that it's hard to see what she's doing at the time. Like with the cakes at teatime, it seemed like she had already given DD hers in the kitchen a bit earlier but it was only later when I asked DD what she'd had that I found out she'd had nothing. I can't put it into words because it's too weird and doesn't make any sense.

I suppose we should say something at the time but it's a bit difficult as she can be a bit intimidating, like the Queen is visiting, and it's also difficult to address when you're brain is screaming 'WTAF!'

I've just spoken to DH. He says there's no point talking to her or confronting her about it as she's one of those people who will never accept that she's out of order. He says he's going to do what Blondeorbrunette suggested and swap the plates/give DD his cake etc but do it very loudly till she gets the message.

I have the exact same issue with my FIL and son. He used to ignore him when he visited even when my son said hello to him and refuses to discuss him. My husband is the only father my son has known but my FIL seems to resent my DH being the father figure to my son.

It came to a head and I told my FIL that he either treats myself and my children with equal respect of else he is not welcome in my home and he should leave. He left.

That was two years ago and things have improved a bit but it really irritates me, the whole non-biological grandparenting issues topic.

It's down to you really to stand up for your daughter. As long as your MIL is allowed to get away with that behaviour she will continue to treat your daughter in the way she has been.

FannyFifer Tue 17-Sep-13 01:32:47

Is your daughter overweight?
Maybe she is thinks she is trying to help her by not giving her sweet stuff?
Totally going about it absolutely wrongly of course.

ACowKickedFred Tue 17-Sep-13 01:33:00

You're right Sparkle and now that I'm seeing it, I will stand up for her. I'm a bit worried I suppose about how long it's been going on when I haven't seen it. I'm hoping it's a new development in her weirdness rather than a long time thing which I've failed to spot.

If anyone wants any guilt, I've got a lot going spare.

exexpat Tue 17-Sep-13 01:35:14

Both your examples involve denying DD food. Does she think your DD is overweight or something, and this is her (weird and cruel) way of indicating that she should not be eating cakes etc? Or she is just being cruel for other reasons. Either way, not acceptable, and you and your DH should present a united front in taking her up onit?

NatashaBee Tue 17-Sep-13 01:36:34

I think your DH swapping the plates is the best way forward if talking to her genuinely won't help. She does sound a bit odd so I can see that pulling her aside and asking her might not work, but I'd still get your DH to try it and talk to FIL about it.

LillyNotOfTheValley Tue 17-Sep-13 01:40:18

Frying pan solution here too - hoping that would put her brain cells back where they belong.

I think you need to confront her, emphasizing that what she is doing may be "unintentional" (years of diplomacywith MIL here), but it could hurt your DD a lot.

Good luck OP!

ACowKickedFred Tue 17-Sep-13 01:43:35

It's not just around food FannyFifer, they're just the first examples which came to mind. Another example, when we all go out somewhere she'll dash out to the car before anyone else can get there to try to bagsy the left hand back seat. She only does this when my daughter is coming. My daughter, being autistic likes things to be the same. She always sits in that seat, has done since we got our first car when she was 2. She gets stressed if she has to sit anywhere else. MIL knows this although she always claims she forgot. If daughter is not coming MIL makes no attempt to claim that seat. She's trying to make a point. God knows what that point is supposed to be, but she's going to make it anyway.

nopanicandverylittleanxiety Tue 17-Sep-13 01:50:16

I would forget diplomacy and protect my daughter if I were you. MIL would be asked to leave asap.
No one should be treated like this in their own home imo.

MagzFarqharson Tue 17-Sep-13 01:54:30

Sorry, but your MIL sounds like a right nasty piece of work. Your poor DD.

I'd make an issue out of all these spiteful things she's doing, let her explain her actions and see how she gets on.

she'll dash out to the car before anyone else can get there to try to bagsy the left hand back seat. She only does this when my daughter is coming.

Seriously?

ACowKickedFred Tue 17-Sep-13 01:55:56

To be fair to MIL I should also add that she also does stuff which is the complete opposite of this weird non-inclusive stuff. For example, she recently went to Hong Kong on holiday. My daughter's special aspie interest is China and all things Chinese. MIL brought her back the most beautiful silk kimono I have ever seen. It must have cost her a fortune. DD loves it and it's now her most prized possession. But to me, it just makes the weirdness all the more weird.

Shellywelly1973 Tue 17-Sep-13 02:22:40

Im replying to your post from the perspective of a parent of a ds with ASD & ADHD.

As i feel so strongly about ds being treated the same as everyone else i would have to say something to Mil. I think Mil sounds like a spiteful old bitch!

I would tell her, your dh & yourself are totally aware of what shes doing. I would thank her for her good points as well. Then i would tell her if she ever behaves like that again, there will be no talking about it, she'll be out of your house asap & twill be a bloody long time before she gets her spiteful old arse parked in your house again.

Of course she's not going to admit to it but let her know, you & your dh & are watching her.

You have to stand up for your dd. You owe it to your dd.

All else fails...the frying pan sounds good!!

Shellywelly1973 Tue 17-Sep-13 02:22:44

Im replying to your post from the perspective of a parent of a ds with ASD & ADHD.

As i feel so strongly about ds being treated the same as everyone else i would have to say something to Mil. I think Mil sounds like a spiteful old bitch!

I would tell her, your dh & yourself are totally aware of what shes doing. I would thank her for her good points as well. Then i would tell her if she ever behaves like that again, there will be no talking about it, she'll be out of your house asap & twill be a bloody long time before she gets her spiteful old arse parked in your house again.

Of course she's not going to admit to it but let her know, you & your dh & are watching her.

You have to stand up for your dd. You owe it to your dd.

All else fails...the frying pan sounds good!!

FixItUpChappie Tue 17-Sep-13 02:46:19

I'd pull her up on it....."MIL I noticed you didn't get DD a cake today when everyone else got one and then noticed you weren't making her pancakes....are you upset with DD? (Insert innocent wide blinking eyes). Is anything bothering you? Of course I assumed you just forgot but thought I'd just double check as naturally don't want DD to feel left out".

Be really polite and genuinely concerned and all that. Hopefully just being called on it will embarrass her enough to put an end to it. otherwise I'd insist your DH deal with it with the caution that if he doesn't his mom is going to get an earful.

SmallTorch Tue 17-Sep-13 03:48:30

She might have bought the kimono because she feels guilty. I agree that pointing it out aloud should hopefully shame her. She sounds nasty. sad

CookieDoughKid Tue 17-Sep-13 04:26:50

Definitely do not let mil get away with it no matter her intentions (or none). Forget diplomacy, this is being cruel to your daughter. Just state your examples, give the impact that your daughter is feeling left out/going hungry again etc..and ASK why mil why? Simply say in a quiet word, that its unacceptable. She's both your daughter and you and your husband should present a united front and pull your mil together.

Driz Tue 17-Sep-13 04:44:55

That really is so weird. The food thing was bad enough, but then you mentioned the car seats. It is very unpleasant behaviour, and because it is so bloody petty it is just not worth her even doing. But her pettiness also probably makes it more difficult for you to mention? Because of course you don't want to buy into it or appear to be bothered by her petty behaviour. However it is downright nasty and I do think you need to call her on this behaviour. I definately think FIL should be made aware of this, and you can do it in such a way that just highlights her weirdness and nastiness, but makes out you are just inquisitive or surprised. I hope you can get it sorted. I do think that your DH should get involved more though and maybe even ask her outright?

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