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MIL - please help me get some perspective.

(163 Posts)
Gobbolinothewitchscat Sun 27-Oct-13 14:30:15

Right - this will be long but dint want to drip feed

I get on relatively well with MIL and FIL. MIL is quite selfish and FiL is very passive so facilitates that. They don't have many friends so family is, ostensibly, everything to them. However, it looks to me as though its more about show in that they won't ever rush to help us out practically but it's very important that we turn up for family events so that MIL can a have 50,000 photos to put on facebook. MILs needs always come first and I find her attitude quite bizarre - an example being that once FIL popped into see us and said that he wouldn't tell MIL as she would be cross. What? Rather than pleased he had seen us?

MIL was very controlling when DH was growing up. She has tried to interfere a bit with us but DH has, to be fair, been good at putting his foot down re this.

MIL has a complicated family background where her father died when she was young and her mother remarried. She had another child who is clearly the favourite - albeit he lives in London and MIL provides much more practical support. FIL's parents are pretty much sidelined and not offered any assistance

Now, to get to the point. It was MIL's brother's favourite child birthday recently and it was decided that we would all go to a hotel to celebrate. We have one DC aged 10 months and I am 7 month's pregnant.

one thing that pisses me off massively is that there is no communication regarding these events. So we have often been left hanging about/wondering whether to have lunch etc. DH is good now at just ensuring we do our own thing and eat etc. So we arrive, check in, have lunch etc. PIL's don't arrive til 4 so don't see DS as he's gone for a sleep. Obviously, if they had wanted to see him, they coukd have arrived earlier.

We go for the meal in the hotel which is very expensive and terrible. dH's and my main courses were £35 each and are taken off the bill as they are inedible. Favoured son, his wife and their 4 children all have meals that are fine. Favoured son orders lots of expensive wine. To be fair, DH has a few glasses. I have quarter of a glass and then two lemonades.

MIL is at her bossy worst but I manage to politely ignore here. This morning we come down for breakfast. There are two seats left beside a high chair that is obviously for DS. DH and I go to the seats to have MIL start chuntering something about DS's sister and her boyfriend needing to sit there. I tell her not to worry, we can get seats for them but we need to sit beside DS as there is no other room at the table in the fucking special room organised for breakfast

MIL then starts organising fir the waitress to take group photos RIGHT NOW and pointedly telling me to sit down now as I'm trying to get DS into the high chair. As we are quite flustered, we don't do the high chair strap properly our fault, I know and DS slips nearly out of the high chair and gets caught under the tray cringe. He is crying and I'm trying to get him out and sort things out and comfort him when MIL comes and starts pestering me about holding him and taking him for a walk as they've not seen him yet er, turn up earlier yesterday?. I say OK as he's just stopped crying. MIL then takes him off to have 5,000 photos taken. She's so busy doing this that she doesn't bother moving anything from her place and, as a result, DS pulls a cup of coffee over himself. Thankfully it was luke warm but my nerves are totally jangled by this point. She ignores all of this and FIL keeps snapping whilst DS grabs a knife. By this stage I actually feel like bursting into tears but I don't want to cause a scene.

I then stand up to take him back and MIL very pointedly refuses to hand him over to anyone but DH so he can hold him for the "next photograph". So we all trot off to have another family photo with MIL making sure that DH and his sister and she and DS are front and centre. I'm shoved at the back like a gestational carrier.

I'm fuming at MIL's complete lack of insight into danger and the fact that she must have known I was worried about DS but has refused to hand him over. Accidents happen. I know that and I am definitely not paranoid or over protective. I was happy for the favourite son's wife to take DS into another room fr about half an hour whilst we finished our lunch and think its good for him to go to everyone and have a little cuddle. But I do expect people to show a bit if common sense and put his safety above their need to take to photos. If an accident happens, I expect them to acknowledge it and that I might be a bit a bit worried about him - reasonably.

The PILs want us to go back to their house - about 10 miles away but I point blank refuse to DH and insist we go home. DH packs the car and I go to check out. The restaurant bill is huge. Query this and find out that MIL has called reception and said we will divide bill per room. Favourite son and his wife and 4 children are staying in 2 rooms so have paid far less per person and enjoyed the discount of our main meals being take off the bill. Favourite son is a millionaire, BTW. But MIL, the big cheese, has decided without asking us that we will subsidise them. As well as paying £350 no, that's not a typo for our room.

I am now very cross but pay up to save embarrassment. We are certainly not poverty struck but I have given up my job to be a stay at home mum and DH is about to buy a dental practice so money is pretty tight as we're having to pay a deposit etc.

I get DS into the car. By this stage, I do not want to see MIL. FIL then appears and starts chuntering in about MIL's 60th birthday next year - which is approximately 3 weeks after our baby is due. Apparently they would like us to trek 60 miles away, go out for a meal and stay the night. FIL helpfully suggests that I could stay in the hotel room with 13 month old DS and a 3 week old if I didn't feel up to the meal.

I then get into the car. I know I was rude here as I didn't say bye to everyone and I know that was rude.

DH appears and we zoom off. I tell DH understatement of the century that I am rather pissed off with MIL and do bit want her to look after DS on his own as she seems to have no regard for his safety and no insight into how to avoid accidents. She and FIL are meant to be looking after him fir the day in 3 weeks.

DH thinks this is harsh, blah, blah blah. He's never been scalded bybMIL. More by luck than design, I think. He agrees that the coffee thing was dangerous though and he did say to her to be careful at the time.

I don't know if I am over reacting here. Also, I don't know whether I should actually, once calmer, speak to her about all of this. I am massively pissed off. Maybe I didn't handle things well though. I don't know.

Sorry this is so long but can I have some advice!

Gobbolinothewitchscat Sun 27-Oct-13 15:36:26

Shamelessly bumping grin

Mintyy Sun 27-Oct-13 15:39:07

Bump and sorry, it is too long for me, but I know some folk on here are prepared to plough through that length of message so hopefully someone will be along soon.

Gobbolinothewitchscat Sun 27-Oct-13 15:44:18

Thanks mintyy - yes it is far too long but I felt a lot better after typing it out so even if no one responds, 'twas theraputic!

Gobbolinothewitchscat Sun 27-Oct-13 15:44:46

I did do paragraphs though! grin

I've read it thanks to your nice use of paragraphs. MIL has behaved outrageously and you, and your DH, need to establish firm boundaries with her. I also think the bill splitting unfairness should be addressed with BIL by your DH - what were they thinking?!

SharpLily Sun 27-Oct-13 15:46:28

There are shedloads of mother-in-law horror stories on here in a similar vein and the consensus seems to be that the only way to deal with it is to stand up for yourself. Be firm - albeit politely, or she'll take further and further liberties. You and your husband are adults, make your own decisions and don't be bullied. Yes, the old bag might throw a bit of a strop occasionally but she'll get over it, and if she doesn't you're well rid anyway.

Gobbolinothewitchscat Sun 27-Oct-13 15:50:54

Would you leave your DC with MIL?

If we don't leave DS as planned, it will be making a massive statement. However, I'm worried that something happens to him and then I'll never forgive myself

Pinkpinot Sun 27-Oct-13 15:51:56

She sounds like an absolute nightmare
And that was a weekend from hell
And I say that with a mil pushing me out of the kitchen to wash up as I am trying to make a roast dinner!

But It all sounds very hectic and maybe when it's quiet and calm you can think about whether she can look after him when it's quiet and calm!

Kewcumber Sun 27-Oct-13 15:52:27

I read it all. Perfectly legible and I can read whole books and everything.

I'm afraid the thing that would have sent me ballistic was the cost splitting by room rather than (say) per adult or just a simple agreement between adults as to what is fair for each family to pay.

Kewcumber Sun 27-Oct-13 15:53:25

I think you might be over-reacting to the safety thing as teh whole weekend sounds such a nightmare your brain doesn;t want them to occupy it in any way.

I would wait a week and decide then.

I managed to read it, thanks to the paragraphs.

Your DH needs to stand up to your BIL and MIL a lot more!
You've got the ideal excuse to get out of her 60th so use it.

What, if any sort, of relationship do you want to have with these people?. What you want and what is happening here are two very different things. These people have no concept of boundaries and will walk over any boundaries DH and you care to set them.

No, you are not overreacting at all. Speaking to her about all this would be a wasted effort because she would likely deny any wrongdoing, rewrite history or make it all out to be your fault. Your DH needs to talk to her but this is not without difficulties either (see third paragraph). Note too that neither she or for that matter FIL have apologised let alone accept any responsibility for their actions.

I would also now find alternative childcare for 3 weeks time. They are patently not good grandparents because she in particular is too bloody self absorbed and she also comes across as narcissistic in terms of personality. I would also keep your children away from them.

DH has had a lifetime of such conditioning and regards their behaviours as "normal". He may not be able to ever stand up for himself properly and he likely cowers inwardly at the sight and sound of his mother. He could well be very afraid of her and FOG often comes into play as well; fear, obligation, guilt.

I would stay well away from them and do not under any circs stay overnight with them on her birthday next year. FIL is her weak and willing enabler in all of her mad excesses of behaviour. Narcissistic women like your MIL always but always need a willing enabler to help them.

I would read "Toxic Inlaws" written by Susan Forward as a starting point and read up on narcissistic personality disorder.

perfectstorm Sun 27-Oct-13 16:00:53

I wouldn't leave a baby that small yet active with someone that self-absorbed, no. They're lethal at that point because they can do so much more than they think they can. I held a friend's 11 month old last week and he grabbed at my (thank God, cold) tea and sent it flying - I'd thought it was out of his reach. But I was bothered about it and not faffing about blimming photos!

You need to get DH to take the money side up with her, because that's just staggeringly, unforgivably rude. Actually so is the making plans for a big away from home party 3 weeks after your due date - what if you have a section or something? And even if you don't, at that stage you're on your knees with exhaustion, and you'll have a 1 year old and a newborn!

The reality is that neither she nor FIL are remotely considering you, or your children. You don't want a family rift, obviously, but it'll only get worse and you'll get angrier if they keep this up with two tiny children in the picture. Best to set some boundaries now.

perfectstorm Sun 27-Oct-13 16:02:21

Sorry, should have been *they can do so much more than you think they can.

This all started with your MIL in childhood, it is patently not your fault that she is this way. Her own dysfunction family background has much contributed.

Also your DH is very much the scapegoat in his birth family's familial dysfunction. Her behaviour as well over the rooms and cost was appalling and is not patently at all normal (but very typical of narcissists who have both a golden child and scapegoat).

If you dare to question a narcissist or request things like healthy boundaries and honesty, you're going to become public enemy number one. The "Mr. or Ms. Wonderful" mask immediately comes off, and there is no level they will not stoop to in order to "punish" you. They have myriad ways of attempting this; some are covert, and some are open and obvious. The narcissist has a seemingly inexhaustible obsession for making people who cross them "pay". Once they set their sights on you, you're a permanent enemy, and their seething spite will feel as intense years down the road as it did when it first began. The length of time they can keep up the full intensity of their hatred for you and their campaign to exact revenge is absolutely dumbfounding to non-narcissistic people.

Gobbolinothewitchscat Sun 27-Oct-13 16:06:41

DH has had a lifetime of such conditioning and regards their behaviours as "normal". He may not be able to ever stand up for himself properly and he likely cowers inwardly at the sight and sound of his mother. He could well be very afraid of her and FOG often comes into play as well; fear, obligation, guilt.

Yes - this, attila. This is exactly how it is. Fortunately, we don't see them very often so DH isn't having to deal with them a lot. He did admit that the coffee thing was worrying but the on ties himself up in knots trying to justify the money thing.

I think, you're all right in that I need to calm down, let the dust settle and then decide my next move.

DH really wouldn't agree to never seeing them again. I think inside he knows his mum is very manipulative but funds it very difficult to acknowledge

usualsuspect Sun 27-Oct-13 16:07:32

It all sound as a bit angst ridden, some of it would annoy me but tbh I think what ever she does you will find fault with.

MissFenella Sun 27-Oct-13 16:08:33

Next time, before anything is arranged and as soon as its suggested I think you need to grab the bull by the horns and set out what you are committing to. ie. We won't be splitting the bill we will pay for our own. DC are not props for photo sessions and they find a long day away too tiring so we will be going as soon as we need to.
You are adults and cannot be forced to do what you don't want, the pay off for getting your own way is that you may upset others. I'd happily live with that in the scenario you describe.

Gobbolinothewitchscat Sun 27-Oct-13 16:10:16

perfect - this new suggestion for the birthday is very much better. Previously we were to fly to America and go on a two week cruise. Admittedly later in the year. But it's a bit much to expect people to fork out for that fir your birthday! We already had to do it for their wedding anniversary - pre DCs. That meant we had to have our summer holiday in April!

Thesouthernwindisblowing Sun 27-Oct-13 16:13:57

I don't get it. I didn't read anything that screamed awful at all. The room money would be annoying but are you sure she even remembered about your meals? I doubt she would gave tracked who drank what either.

gotthemoononastick Sun 27-Oct-13 16:18:59

Try to do exactly what sensible Miss Fenella said.My jaw dropped at the horrid time you endured and I AM a mother in law!!

Gobbolinothewitchscat Sun 27-Oct-13 16:20:15

South - I think my point re the meals is that it is not fir MIL to unilaterally decide how the cost is to be split - particularly when it means that we are hugely subsidising anther, large, family. It's not in her gift to do that

My post was very long but most of the other stuff I can live with but the fact that DS could have been really badly burned if the coffee had been hot, that the accident was avoidable, that MIL didn't even acknowledge she was careless (for the sake of some photos) and that she wouldn't give DS back to me are my main concerns when I am meant to be leaving DS with them in a few weeks.

Everyone's points of view are so useful so I'm not trying to argue the toss here and I am willing to listen painful though it maybe if the overall consensus is that I need to get a grip.

Marylou2 Sun 27-Oct-13 16:45:12

What a wonderfully patient wife and DIL you are! I realise you are venting your frustration here but so many people, my self included would have blown their top in public. From my experience the one thing I know is that no matter what is said or done your MIL will never change. Working from that as a starting point you have to prioritize the needs of your own family, both financially and with your precious time. Your pregnancy/newborn is the perfect get out clause for your MILs birthday. I don't wonder they have few friends but you have to put your own family first!

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