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Mother in law who lacks boundaries

(38 Posts)
Ticklemonster2 Tue 26-Feb-13 09:39:51

I am expecting my dc2 (14 weeks this week). My ds1 is 2 and a half, very good and goes to nursery 3 days a week.
My problem is this. My mother in law is very overbearing/domineering and caused a lot of upset when I had ds1 by pushing to look after him on her own from week 2. Up until this point she came over every day to cuddle ds1 (not help). When I said I didn't need that kind of help she created a storm of a row and demanded to see ds1 without me present. When I tried to be assertive with her over not wanting to be parted with my new born baby she physically attacked me and was verbally abusive (I had just had a c section and she dragged me through her house, pushed me to the ground and stood on my back - this tore the muscles in my stomach and I was left with carpet burns and severe bruising). From this time on she treated me like sh!t and ran me down to my husband, extended family and gossiped to friends. This went on for some time until it upset me so much that I put a stop to it by insisting she see ds1 with me present.
She created many rifts over the following 2 years (all when things didnt go exactly her way), nearly destroyed my marriage by manipulating and pressuring my husband, ruined my sons 2nd birthday party by having a tantrum in front of all my friends etc....you get the picture.
She has never apologised or admitted her wrongdoing.
My husband and I have been through the mill with it all, but have come out strong and united. I can't deny that she did her best to ruin my experience as a new mum. I had a c section and needed time to recover and bond with ds1. All I got was her interfering and getting in the way of me resting. She also made lots of negative and condescending remarks during her visits.
My problem is that as soon as she knew I was pregnant again she started openly assuming she would be looking after the baby. She has spoken about taking it to her house and all sorts. Now that ds1 is older he will pop to her house to play, but only likes to stay an hour or so as she bosses him and is quite sharp in her manner (something he isn't used to). That's ok as he is independent, and its only every so often as there are some trust issues.
It's one thing to offer to help if needed, but another to basically tell me this is what's going to happen. Anyway, it's freaking me out because of the trauma I went through after the birth of ds1. I can't go through that again and am not sure how to handle it. I'm concerned she will blow up again when I refuse her help. I've been feeling quite anxious and I don't want it to ruin another precious time.
My husband and I have agreed that she will not be looking after the baby due to our experience with her and our concerns. Plus, we don't need it.
My question is: am I best to ignore her assumptions as I have not agreed to them, or clear this up now by explaining that I don't wish to have time away from my newborn baby?
Sorry for the long post, but its complex. Thanks for any helpful comments.

Gigondas Tue 26-Feb-13 09:43:07

I am at a loss as to why you still see her after she assaulted you.

I would just say "No- this doesn't work for us" when topic is mentioned And let it rest. Walk away, put phone down and refuse to engage if she starts to make a scene.

Jayne266 Tue 26-Feb-13 09:44:03

Oh my god how horrible I think it's best to get it out now and have your DH present (you don't want any violence). So she knows where she stands and if your happy for DS 1 to still visit her the let her know this as it might calm her down. Tbh I wouldn't take any of this and if my mil had done that I would have called the police.

That is one heck of an understatement in your title.

You should no be even spending one moment with this woman.

Please extricate yourself as soon as is possible.

LineRunner Tue 26-Feb-13 09:51:20

I wouldn't let a violent, horrible person like this anywhere near my child, or myself.

Why do you and your husband have anything to do with her? She is making you unhappy. Dump her.

Ticklemonster2 Tue 26-Feb-13 09:51:22

I did call the police and they logged it. I had great support from a lovely Health Visitor who knew about it.
If I had my way Gigondas I would never have seen her again. My husband and I have set very strong boundaries as a result of her behaviour. My husband is convinced this was a one off, but I'm wary when people have shown that side to themselves.
My son only sees her without me present when my MILs husband is there (a very nice, normal individual). She will sadly never have a close relationship with our children as a result of her behaviour.

NeonGolden Tue 26-Feb-13 09:52:09

I often think posters seriously need to take it easy with the MIL hate on here, but WTAF?
This woman sounds insane. Insane and dangerous!
Does she bring anything positive into your life? How is your husband's relationship with her?
Tbh I can't really understand why you'd want her in your life at all...

NeonGolden Tue 26-Feb-13 09:53:00

Sorry, xpost obviously.

CatelynStark Tue 26-Feb-13 09:54:40

WTAF? There's no way this woman would have ever seen me or my children ever again after the assault. A raised voice would have been enough!

Why are you letting her have a presence in your life??

Ticklemonster2 Tue 26-Feb-13 09:58:01

Line runner,she did make us unhappy, but now she has become irrelevant. Even my husband calls her an old bitch. Shame, as I would hate for my ds1 to call me that. We don't see her often.
My husband is loyal, but is learning she is not a nice person. I guess that's hard when it's your mum.
How do I keep her in my life? Well, I told her I informed the police and that if she stepped out of line again I would have her put away and she would never see my son again. She has been more civil since then.
Oh yeah, and I will get to choose her nursing home which will stink of cats piss and with the phone just a bit out of her reach!

Gigondas Tue 26-Feb-13 09:59:11

Then I would continue with what you do with ds1 when dc2 is old enough if you are happy with that (congratulations btw).

Until then I would just refuse to engage and get dh to do the same. If she wants to see baby make it on your terms (ie set time at your house then goes).

Even without her violent history (and I completely agree that if she has done this once, why not again?) it is perfectly normal and ok ,as you say, not to be parted with a small
Baby.

mrssmooth Tue 26-Feb-13 10:00:02

Wow shock that is truly appalling behaviour! I think you need to bring this up before the baby will be born, otherwise it will be continually in the back of your mind. Decide what/how you are going to tell her, tell her and then let that be the end of it so you can enjoy the rest of your pg. Obviously, this is all very well for me to say that, it's very different when you have to put it into practice. I'm glad that you and your dh are together on this, I'm sure you will come up with something succinct and to the point so there is no chance that she will "get the wrong end of the stick", and if you can't think of the exact words to use, I'm sure there will be plenty of mners who can come up with something appropriate! Good luck, she sounds like an absolute nightmare.

Gigondas Tue 26-Feb-13 10:00:24

grin At nursing home comment.

I know it's a digression but why does your dh still want a relationship
With her? She sounds vile.

What does your H think of his mother now, does he want a relationship at all with her?. Do you for that matter?.

Does MIL live close by?.

BTW you both did not cause this lady to act this way. the damage done to her was likely done by both her parents in her own childhood. Do you have any idea of what her own childhood was like, that often gives clues.

You have likely come from a family where this type of familial dysfunction is thankfully unknown so this is also difficult to deal with. However, the "normal" rules of engagement when dealing with such emotionally dysfunctional people like your MIL go out the window. I was not at all surprised to see that she has never apologised nor taken any responsibility for her actions; such toxic people do not and never do.

You both need to protect your own selves and that of your children here; if that meant cutting her off completely from your lives so be it. I do not write such things at all lightly but she's certainly brought enough chaos into your lives these past few years and will continue to do so.

Your H certainly needs to talk to her but she could well not listen (or turn on the tears). Also you may need to consider that he on some level is too afraid of his mother to actually do this. This is not due to him necessarily being cowardly but due to inbuilt conditioning at her hands. He may on some level not want to admit to himself that his mother is really very much damaged and was a toxic parent to him as well as well as being a rubbish model of a grandparent now.

Where is FIL, I only ask as he is not mentioned at all in your post.

I would think about the matter of DS1 going around there as well for infact any length of time from now on (small wonder he gets fed up with her after an hour, he's probably frightened of her). This is because if you are being treated badly by your MIL then that behaviour she shows you can too easily be transferred to your DS as well. She is also showing DS1 a rubbish role model of being a grandparent as well as still behaving awfully to you both.

I would also suggest you read "Toxic Inlaws" written by Susan Forward as this may well help you.

Ticklemonster2 Tue 26-Feb-13 10:04:04

She doesn't bring anything to our life as she isn't really in it.
She sees ds1 about once a month if she is lucky.

akaemmafrost Tue 26-Feb-13 10:07:14

I would have called the police and insisted that charges were brought if that had been done to me but I do understand why you might not have felt able to do that.

Honestly I wouldn't have her anywhere near me or my family but as you are planning to do so I would be quite up front in telling her that if there is so much as a hint of similar behaviours I would be contacting the police, making a formal complaint and she would never see my dc again.

"My son only sees her without me present when my MILs husband is there (a very nice, normal individual)"

He is also playing a role here in this overall dysfunction; FIL is likely to be a bystander and such weak men act out of self preservation and want of a quiet life. He failed to protect his son from his wife didn't he and he continues to fail now. Your son is fed up with his grandma after 1 hour's visit to their house for good reason.

Your H is very torn I think between loyalty to you and to his mother even after all the havoc she has caused you as a family. He won't let you choose a poorly run nursing home for her.

Ticklemonster2 Tue 26-Feb-13 10:13:55

My husband is in a difficult spot as his father committed suicide when he was 6. Hence he feels responsible for her and too guilty to turn his back. Attila you are spot on. She had a very bad childhood. Mother was sectioned many times and father lived away. She was put in boarding school from a young age. She has no relationship with her parent and is emotionally baron.
My husband has been conditioned by her, but over the course of our 10 year relationship I have managed to persuade him that things aren't as she says they are. He becomes a better person every day.
When my son is around she is always sickly sweet to me...she isn't daft! I know my son and he won't develop any real relationship with her. However, he does love his step grandpa who is a lovely guy.

Ticklemonster2 Tue 26-Feb-13 10:19:33

Actually my FIL has really helped as he has bollocked her on a few occasions now. He isn't my husbands Father, but he is a decent man. He has a job that takes him away so he only sees half of her behaviour.
Attila, my husband has already joked that I am choosing the home...I'm going to hold him to that! The children and I won't be visiting either.

PopeBenedictsP45 Tue 26-Feb-13 13:00:43

There is no way she should have anything to do with your baby - or even your DS1.

What happens when your DS1 gets a bit older and starts asserting himself more - is MIL going to stand on his back too?

FrequentFlyerRandomDent Tue 26-Feb-13 13:33:19

I am very sorry for you.

To answer your question, I think I would make it very clear to her once, while other people are present so she cannot pretend that she did not know. I was going to suggest a letter tu this can be 'lost'.

Then I would ignore and adopt the broken record stance.

I am so glad you logged her first assault with the police. Well done.

I can't believe you still even look in her direction or let her near your child after assaulting you she sounds like a maniac, I'd have nothing to do
With her OP, I would hope most people would back you up on that one.

eccentrica Tue 26-Feb-13 13:55:44

I also have a difficult MIL and was reading your OP thinking "yeah yeah, same here" until I got to the bit about her assaulting you shock

That is really off the scale and you are totally justified in restricting contact with her as much as you see fit.

Ticklemonster2 Tue 26-Feb-13 14:00:48

Thanks ladies. When I next see her she is bound to bring up baby sitting. I've decided that I'm going to lay things out very clearly that we won't need any help with ds1 or 2 when the baby arrives. I am also going to state that that won't change and that its the end of the matter. I'm going to record the conversation on my phone so she can't deny I have made things clear. Then I can carry on with my pregnancy and enjoy it.
Ps frequent flyer I logged the assault so that if she came between my husband and I, I could stop her ever having any contact with ds1. She'll never get the better of me and when she dies I'm having one hell of a party with her stacks of money left to my hubby.

Badvoc Tue 26-Feb-13 14:04:36

You let an abusive verbally agressive woman near your son?
Wow.
I am sorry for your Dhs childhood, it must be very difficult for him, but you can stop the rot.
Stand your ground.

DontmindifIdo Tue 26-Feb-13 14:07:02

How about "MIL, have you forgotten that you assaulted me only a few days after DS? Because I haven't and never will. I'm polite to you because your my husbands mother but I really don't want you to ever babysit my children. You can't be trusted not to lose your temper. Don't ask again, because if you do, I'll just cut you out. Back off"

Of course, I'd not let someone who'd assaulted me anywhere near my DCs.

AutumnDreams Tue 26-Feb-13 14:13:05

I don`t understand why this awful woman imagines that you would allow her to be any more involved with your new LO, than she is with DS1. However, given her deluded thinking, you are absolutely right to lay down the rules.....immediately. This is not about her in any way, and you need to spell that out to her.She gave up the right to be an involved grandparent when she attacked you. Please never allow her to be alone with your lovely children. She sounds very dangerous.

Not at all surprised to see that MIL had a dysfunctional childhood; it sounds like she is narcissistic in terms of personality.

No point in trying usual methods with such people as you are dealing with someone who is completely operating outside all normal social norms. Usual rules therefore go out the window as you are not dealing with an emotionally responsible let alone stable personality. She will in no way accept your reasoned argument as such people simply cannot be dealt with.

Would also suggest you keep your eldest child away from this lady and her enabler of a H as well.

shadesofwhite Tue 26-Feb-13 14:24:46

I had just had a c section and she dragged me through her house, pushed me to the ground and stood on my back - this tore the muscles in my stomach and I was left with carpet burns and severe bruising shock

Poor you OP, plus I could have written your post, my MiL is a copy of yours only that my fugly SiL did the physical assult in public. Very unpleasant people! My STBXH was completely emotionally blackmailed, so awfully he aways sided with Mil grin . I'm thrilled they are ALL out of my and DD's life for Good! I just couldn't live an intoxicated life knowing there was never going to be a solution! we are in a refuge

Good luck OP and congratulations on your DC2. These are for you thanks .

pigsDOfly Tue 26-Feb-13 14:37:39

Honestly OP, I don't understand how you can allow this dangerous and unhinged woman anywhere near your DS1 with or without being present yourself. As someone else said, her husband, no matter how lovely he is, is enabling her.

She's unpredictable and toxic and you have no way of knowing whether she's likely turn on DS1 and whether her husband would be able to protect your child if she did.

In your position I would disengage with her and not allow her in my home or my children near her. I don't think you can reason with her and explain why you don't want her baby sitting. Her behaviour is way beyond reason.

shock im shocked she's still in your childs life tbh

you need to tell her now... not later. if she keeps hinting at looking after your new baby, and you say nothing then she will continue to think she is getting her own way. the sooner you tell her, and make her understand, the better

Imsosorryalan Tue 26-Feb-13 14:59:22

To be honest, I would have severed contact completely after she assaulted you. I would also have been inclined to get her arrested for said assault.
I can't believe you are still including her in your family's life. Do you want your dcs to grow up with her influence??

Sugarice Tue 26-Feb-13 14:59:55

Another one here who is shocked at her assault of you and yet still sees her Son and your child.

I don't understand why you you and your dh continue to allow her figure in your lives, she's unstable and prone to violent outbursts.

Poppyseed29 Tue 26-Feb-13 22:20:38

Hi there! I have just registered with mumsnet after reading your post, tmonster. I think your husband needs to stand up for you more and speak to his mum himself. Why should you have all the stress? I can't stand your mil and I have never even met her!!!! I wish you all the best for the future.

My MIL has caused me stress. However, I am thankful that my h is not a mummy's boy and he does stand up for me. She is very overbearing and looks down her nose at me when she visits. She seems to think she is perfect. Luckily she lives 120 miles away and only visits about every 6 weeks. I do get anxious about her visits though.

What is it with these stupid women???

I hope you have a better experience with your 2nd child. In solidarity xxxxx.

NoisesOff Tue 26-Feb-13 22:34:59

Is your DH an only child? If not, are there other DILs or SILs around? How do they deal with this woman? Could they be allies? I'm asking this but getting the impression that DH is an only child, given the intensity of MIL's focus on you. :-(

CardinalRichelieu Tue 26-Feb-13 22:41:53

Fuck me! I would have had her prosecuted, and I do not exaggerate. That is ABH at the very least.

If that was my MIL and she asked to see my baby I would say 'No, you can fuck off'.

If your husband wants to be in contact with her and make sure she is alright that is up to him, but I would have nothing to do with her and would not let her near the children.

However I fear that if you kick up a fuss now she/your DH might not take any notice, as you have been accepting her horrendous behaviour up to now. I think you should definitely start being very firm though.

Xales Tue 26-Feb-13 23:02:35

I don't see what is wrong with direct honesty.

'You have got to be fucking kidding and if there is even a fraction of your previous behaviour we will use the full weight of the law against you and you will never see either child again'

Completely coming from your H 100% backing you.

Gill1976 Wed 27-Feb-13 11:53:29

I would be rather blunt and say "After what happened when you assaulted me after my last birth, no I won't be wanting any help from you".

When you're home from the hospital keep the door locked and don't let her visit until you are ready (if it all!). If she rings you tell her you don't want visitors. Your H must support you 100% or the blocking her out strategy won't work.

She absolutely cannot get away with this sort of behaviour, it's disgusting.

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