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How do you cope if your MIL isn't someone you want in your life?

(77 Posts)
Addictedtocustardcreams Tue 18-Oct-16 06:20:54

I posted a while ago about financial situation with my MIL (FIL has died she can't afford large house & car she is left with as also lots of debt to be paid off. My DH & SIL are going to give her money so she can afford to stay in 5 bed detached while we live with 2 kids in 3 bed terrace & SIL doesn't own her own place.)
Following on from the thread I had a further conversation with my DH. He tried to broach the disparity in our circumstances with MIL, & mentioned moving or selling car. She got really angry & told DHhis father would never have said anything like that. DH is therefore left that he either pays or has to completely put his foot down & insist MIL sells & moves. He is therefore going to pay.
MIL has also always had a tendency for emotional manipulation. She has said to my DD aged 3 "do you want to stay at my house?" When DD said no she said "why don't you love me?". She also announced in front of DD's face that she is only really interested in children until they are 3 or 4. I get on well with my SIL but she has a lot of self confidence & body image issues & it is very clear over time that these all stem from MIL.
This may read that I am being petty counting up the things she does wrong but I am trying to give a picture of her behaviour.
I think she is being very selfish over the money/house stuff. I also think she has some issues of her own that lead to the emotionally manipulative language. In lots of ways I feel quite sorry for her. But I don't really want to have a relationship with her anymore. I think everything that has been said & done over the last few months has destroyed any final positive feelings I had about her. I wouldn't want to stop her seeing the children but I don't really want her to be in a position to have influence over them especially as regards food/eating/body image.
Has anyone else ever coped with a very strained MIL relationship like this? Am I just a terrible DIL & I should find a way to get on with her? Currently I just don't know how to.

OliviaBenson Tue 18-Oct-16 06:26:06

Jesus. You are not terrible op. But you have a DH problem if he is giving your own family money to his mum.

I would resent that. Not sure what to suggest but you have my sympathy.

Addictedtocustardcreams Tue 18-Oct-16 06:30:54

I know what you mean but I do also feel rather sorry for DH. I don't think his mother would ever forgive him if he doesn't give her the money & I think he feels an obligation to look after his mum now his dad is gone.

jeaux90 Tue 18-Oct-16 06:33:24

Bloody hell OP no way I would put up with your family money going to support her in the big house. Your DH needs to grow a pair! Big hug for you, she sounds awful xxx

Fwiw I have elderly parents who can no longer afford their big house and are not really coping with the work it needs with the lawns etc. I have two sisters. One lives abroad the other 1 and I are both single mums with sanding jobs. We can't do the work that they need around the house so they have agreed to sell and move nearer to a retirement apartment. No fuss, it's the right thing for the whole family. Your MIL is acting like a spoilt brat. (Perhaps show your dh this post) x

jeaux90 Tue 18-Oct-16 06:34:32

Demanding jobs, we aren't carpenters ha ha x

TallulahTheTiger Tue 18-Oct-16 06:34:47

Def DH prob! Have you tried saying how you would cope if something happened to your own income to make it drop? How long are you meant to subsidy her for?

Littlebeek Tue 18-Oct-16 06:36:07

Crikey that's a really tough one.
IMO your DH isn't responsible for paying for his mum to live in her house. He has his own family which should always come first.
It's incredibly selfish of his mum to put this strain on him and if I were in her shoes I'd be wracked with guilt for even asking for money.

Yes it's going to be hard for her to leave her home but that's what she needs to do. Your DH needs to put his foot down, it's absolutely terrible that she's put him in this position.

My heart goes out to you op.

mouldycheesefan Tue 18-Oct-16 06:37:11

FOG. Fear, obligation, guilt. That is why he is giving her the money. It's bonkers! She will have to downsize. Do not subsidise her desire to stay in a house she cannot afford at personal,cost to yourselves. If she never forgives him then that is her choice. If he pays for her to stay in the house she may never forgive him over an entirely different matter, because she uses forgiveness as a weapon to get what she wants. Stand up to her " mil, that will not be possible. We can help you to downsize" broken record repeat repeat repeat. "I will never forgive you if I have to move" " that is your choice mil" .
Don't be emotionally blackmailed.

zen1 Tue 18-Oct-16 06:38:54

Your DH is being emotionally manipulated, but he needs to stand up to his mother about this issue or she will continue to exert authority over your family, making for a miserable time for you and your DC. This is your joint money and your DH has no right to make an executive decision to give it to his mother to support her lifestyle. Why should you and the children lose out? You need to tell him that you are not willing to do this.

Addictedtocustardcreams Tue 18-Oct-16 06:44:04

I totally understand why everyone is saying don't do it. That is what I want to say, but DH won't. We have had loads of arguments about this. We have had a seriously tough 12 months with various other stressors plus the family stuff & 2 small children. If I continue to make this an issue with him I am seriously worried about the future of our relationship. I know that part is not MIL's fault but that is why I am so angry at her for putting us in this position.

carmenta Tue 18-Oct-16 06:45:46

Why can't she take an equity release mortgage out on the house? I don't understand how she can have a major asset and still need money?

And as it's your shared money not your DH's money, he should absolutely not be giving it to his mother without you being happy about that idea. You really do need him to say no.

saintagur Tue 18-Oct-16 06:49:19

Why doesn't your DH just say that he would love to help, but he can't afford it, that he loves her, but it is not possible for him to help out financially, and then let her make her own decision.

Penhacked Tue 18-Oct-16 06:49:44

It doesn't matter whose debt it was. Was it dh or sil's? No? Then it is not theirs to pay. She has the means to pay the debt but she'd prefer your family to suffer than her. Unbelievable.

YvaineStormhold Tue 18-Oct-16 06:50:54

If you let him do this it will also put a massive strain on your relationship.

This will lead to resentment.
And it won't be a one-off payment. Big houses are expensive to run. They need maintenance and upkeep. Give her this and she will ask for more. She'll also have your husband at her beck and call every five minutes wanting jobs done.

She'a basically trying to replace her husband with yours.

Put your foot down. This can't happen.

zen1 Tue 18-Oct-16 06:52:17

It will do nothing for your relationship if DH goes ahead and gives her the money. It will just put more bad feeling between you and DH and will also be added financial pressure which will put more stress on your family.

VanillaSugarandChristmasSpice Tue 18-Oct-16 06:53:47

There's no easy solution to this - your MIL has conditioned her children to run around after her. Is DH a good husband? My MIL is in a similar vein and DH treats me like a princess so at least there's some benefit.

Subsidising your MIL is hard, especially when FIL left big debts (overspending to keep her happy?). The "logical" solution would be for you to swap houses but I expect that would go down like a lead balloon.

Your children will get more expensive as they get older - you need to have a good, level headed chat with DH and explain that extra curricular clubs, shoes etc don't pay for themselves, especially when DH is paying to heat 4 bedrooms in a house which are never used.

Be kind to SIL. Also, don't worry too much about your MIL's influence on your DCs. Always be around to pick up on any barbed comments and then talk it through afterwards.

VanillaSugarandChristmasSpice Tue 18-Oct-16 06:59:43

The cruellest but probably most effective way to sort this out is to see how much money DH is giving his mother and then demand - yes, DEMAND - that you get the equivalent amount of money to spend on yourself - not your DCs, not the house, YOU.

Because it is the same thing: money is leaving your household which provides no benefit for your household.

MagikarpetRide Tue 18-Oct-16 07:00:52

Personally I wouldn't be with my dh if he did this. My xmil was highly manipulative though thankfully never crept into the financial side, that killed us off alone.

I have no practical advice for you. Sorry

Addictedtocustardcreams Tue 18-Oct-16 07:03:46

Yes vanilla there was a lot of overspending to keep MIL happy. She has always maintained she was the one who was sensible with money but as I pointed out to DH the other day when she said "I like that" and FIL bought it how many times did she say "no I don't need it" It's lovely but I've got one already"etc etc.
But then I felt sad I had said all this as DH looked so down hearted. I don't think he had ever thought of it like that before.

Smellyrose Tue 18-Oct-16 07:06:01

We gave MIL money to stay in her house (on the verge of bankruptcy). It was the worst thing we ever did and we still haven't recovered financially seven years later (still don't own our own house). I had no idea how manipulative she was and agreed to it because I felt sorry for her. I really wish we hadn't (as does DH). I can remember cuddling DD when things got tough and promising her that I would never ask to borrow money from her, and only then did it occur to me that normal, rational parents would never put that kind of obligation on a child. I wish I'd had that insight before we'd done it.

YvaineStormhold Tue 18-Oct-16 07:06:48

Your DH needs to wake up to who is mother is.

It'll be hard for him, but he absolutely must.

Otherwise, he'a going to be stuck where his dad was, dancing attendance on her until she dies leaving you in debt

rollonthesummer Tue 18-Oct-16 07:14:27

Blimey-that's awful. Sounds like your father in law treated her a princess and she has got used to it.

How much money are you talking about giving her? A lump sum? To pay off debts? A monthly amount?

If she can't afford the house and car and debts-it sounds like an ongoing money pit.

This would be a deal-breaker for me. I would be saying noand that we simply couldn't afford it. Your DH isn't on board though, which is your main problem.

Mouikey Tue 18-Oct-16 07:15:17

I would be a bit cheeky and say that your parents (or close relative) need financial support to the same level and see what he says then... if he is agreeable put it in a side account for the future when things go tits up (not your relationship I hope, but when unexpected financial outlays are necessary). Yes this is devious but it would also establish if there is equity in your relationship.

If there isn't and he doesn't agree then you have a very big problem (even if it is hypothetical). Are SIL and DH paying in anticipation of inheritance long term? I assume mil mortgage paid and its unsecured debts that need to be resolved? Like others, why should you guys go without to pay for something that can be relatively easily resolved?

One thing I did wonder is if she has been a 'kept' woman and literally has no clue about the value of things / how things work (you know the old Skool women who never knew how to write a cheque kind of thing) - being kind, it maybe that she is fearful of change and doesn't understand rather than being difficult, but clearly you know her intricacies more than you can detail here,

Good luck - personally I would 'put my foot down' on something like this as it would significantly effect family life.

FrancesNiadova Tue 18-Oct-16 07:15:45

Ok is it both your monies or just DH' s? If it's both of yours, then put your share into a separate account, so that it's safe.
I didn't go high drama with lots of announcements, I just withdrew & stopped seeing my MIL. Then the DC decided to stop going too. DH now has cut contact too.
She's toxic and you can't allow her to dominate your lives. flowers

JoJoSM2 Tue 18-Oct-16 07:16:11

Frankly, I'd say your problem isn't your MIL but DH. MIL could go and blow all her money but that's irrelevant to you all your children. Your husband, however, has got a responsibility towards you and the children and he's not doing the right thing at all. It might be tough on him to get out of this unhealthy relation but like mouldy cheese described, it's quite a simple mechanism. Would your dh consider counselling or something? If you're worried for your marriage that might help.

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