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MIL drama - was I being oversensitive?

(57 Posts)
tangerinefeathers Sat 27-Jul-13 06:27:43

Not sure where to start. My MIL is a difficult woman & out of her remaining family my DH is the only one still on speaking terms with her.

We haven't seen her for a year. She is very intense, requires constant attention, gets moody and sulky very quickly, picks fights, is incredibly stingy and generally the visits end in a fight and her leaving in a huff.

Invariably my DH and her make up after not talking for a few months and another visit is planned. So this time she wanted to come and we said OK, come for a week. So she booked for nine days (across two weekends), which was annoying as I am 7 months pregnant and really want that time to get things done before the baby comes.

I decided to try and get out a bit so we're not in each other's faces the whole time. I cleaned the house, made dinner, made up the guest room for her etc and then planned to escape, but she got back from the airport before I could leave as a friend rang and I got caught on the phone.

I know it's a bit rude to disappear but she honestly prefers having DH to herself anyway and I don't get much time to myself so thought it would be better for everyone, plus I was going to have a swim which puts me in a much better frame of mind mentally for dealing with her.

Anyway she comes in and I asked her a few questions about her flight, her house etc. She says nothing to me about my pregnancy which is fine. But then out of the blue she says 'You look tired!'. Which is not especially rude but not perhaps the first thing I'd ever say to someone I haven't seen in a year. Then my DH leaves the room and I say, i'm going to go out now, I was planning to go for a swim. And she says, Do you drive there? [this is typical of her, she asks hundreds of questions rather than making conversation] and I say yes, and then she says, So can you still get the seatbelt around you?

Which to me says, you are the size of a baby elephant.

She always, always comments on my weight and I am so sick of it. I just don't think it's something you need to mention. Like many women I am constantly struggling with my weight and feeling fat etc.

Anyway I left and told DH that I wasn't coming home until she'd gone. I know it's a bit unreasonable of me but I just can't do nine days of these comments. She has nothing nice to say, it's always something bitchy.

It's such a minor thing really but it's just coming at the end of about ten years of minor comments and it's as if she piled on that last straw. Anyway my DH said would you consider an apology and I said no, I can't do nine days of this. I just can't. So I've agreed to go to my parents and I'm not sure what's going to happen now. She will be happy as she'll have him to herself which is far preferable for her. He will have to bring DS to me at some point.

He says she didn't mean it, you are pregnant, she was just commenting on your belly, and clearly thinks I'm overreacting, as does she.

Sorry for the essay. Don't really know where to go from here. He is also in therapy at the moment and dealing with a lot of issues about his mother and his shrink basically told him that if she's rude to me he should stand up to her, because she's going to be a nightmare whatever happens, but he's clearly not doing that in this situation. So I suppose I am disappointed in him as well.

Roshbegosh Sat 27-Jul-13 06:34:09

We all have a breaking point, if you can't cope with her then you are right to go away. The relationship was pretty non-existent anyway, now it will be officially over. I would not be too hard on DH, he might be more assertive if she wasn't in your house as he doesn't want to row with her for 9 days. He will probably get the message across in that time.

redcaryellowcar Sat 27-Jul-13 06:52:28

I think she sounds awful, and I am impressed you agreed to her coming to stay at all, whilst I think I would almost certainly do the same in your situation I think looking rationally at this from an outside perspective that I would try to be around. I think its important to see you as a family unit, and also for your husband to have a chance to stand up for you. I think if my husband had said what can I do to persuade you to come back I would want his total support and also him to take her on plenty of trips out including meals so you don't end up constantly catering.
Hope trip not too bad, maybe look for b & b nearby ish for her next visit, or maybe this one?

tumbletumble Sat 27-Jul-13 06:59:20

Is it possible that she is a socially awkward person, rather lacking in empathy, who tends to put her foot in it rather than deliberately trying to be rude or hurtful? Your description of her as asking lots of questions rather than having a normal conversation made me feel a little sorry for her.

Dilidali Sat 27-Jul-13 07:07:49

I would expect my husband to stand up for me and ask his mother to move to a hotel. You don't need this stress.
How about you take the reins? Ask DH to take your son out and sort out the MIL: sorry, but you need to go to a hotel, end of.

Good for you for sticking up for yourself and as someone said earlier we all have a breaking point.
Maybe this will make her think

Partridge Sat 27-Jul-13 07:09:23

There must be a huge backstory here otherwise you are being completely ur.

Theexisapsychocunt Sat 27-Jul-13 07:11:12

You totally over reacted and also my personal opinion is shooting straight out is exceptionally rude.

cloudskitchen Sat 27-Jul-13 07:18:20

On the face of it it seems you have overreacted however having put up with it for so many years, you know her intention. Your Dh might be more inclined to stand up to her when he's had 9 days alone with her. What a vile woman. Can you laugh at her when she says these things and therefore take the power away from her. Where's the point in insulting you if you just find it all a big joke. If you reconcile again can I suggest you go there for a visit so you can keep it short. Like maybe 2 hours grin

curlew Sat 27-Jul-13 07:21:50

On the strength of your OP, which is obviously all we've got to go on,you are being massively unreasonable and incredibly rude.

Flibbedyjibbet Sat 27-Jul-13 07:37:25

I think you have been unreasonable...
You look tired..... chances are you look really really tired you're 7 months pregnant dealing with blistering heat.

People of her generation seem to have this weird thing about seatbelts not fitting. Is there any chance she could have been checking it still fits you for yours and GC to be's safety.

I feel so sorry for your DH, his Mother has arrived has said 2 things to you (maybe perfectly innocently, maybe not) you've disappeared for a "swim" and he's had to sit down and tell her that his life partner is not coming back till she has gone. Even if she is the biggest witch I wouldn't wish that job on anybody.

Theexisapsychocunt Sat 27-Jul-13 07:41:28

I've had a think about this and I can't believe you were going to go out before she even got there.

You shouldn't have said she can come for a week when you clearly can't stand her - for whatever reason.

If my dh was so rude to my mum - he'd be the one looking for somewhere to stay while she was here.

cloudskitchen Sat 27-Jul-13 08:02:30

I'm wondering from the responses you have received if I'm one of the few to notice that. ..

no one in the family is talking to her because she is so difficult

your husband has a therapist because of her

you invited her for a week so she booked 9 days.

her first 2 comments to you were insulting

There is clearly a much bigger picture here than Mil arrives and you walk out. This behaviour has obviously been going on for years and has worn you down. I would however give it a bit longer before walking out for your dh sake. lots of early nights might be needed for early escape and try not to let her acidic comments get under your skin.

curlew Sat 27-Jul-13 08:17:27

He is not in therapy because of his mother. He is in therapy and dealing with issues around his mother- which any of us would do. And anyway, doesn't that make leaving him to deal with her for 9 days even worse?

And since when has "you look tired" been insulting?

She could be the worst, most unpleasant person in the universe-but noting in the OP sounds as if she is. So either tangerinefeathers is downplaying the situation or she is being unreasonable. And rude.

maillotjaune Sat 27-Jul-13 08:24:18

I agree that on the face of things you look unreasonable BUT I have a MIL a bit like yours (minus the stingy - she tries to fill our house with crap she's bought) and I know the feeling of being close to the edge when she arrives.

However - it's your home and there's no way I would have left like that. If you can't tolerate her staying with you, can she / you afford a local b&b just so you have some space?

This looks like a good chance for you to tell her what has upset you. That might end up in her flouncing off - so be it.

ll31 Sat 27-Jul-13 08:28:57

How is your looking tired being insulting?? Going out so soon is v rude.

something2say Sat 27-Jul-13 08:35:52

My mother is an absolute nightmare and my brother got married and they had a baby....every time I see a MIL thread I wonder if it is them!!!!! My mother would be the sort to clean, buy. Things, over ride, make comments etc all because no one would be good enough for her precious son, plus she thinks the most important thing in the world is being clean and she has never had a life, and she is rude and outspoken and opinionated, as tho everyone cares what her opinion is!

Good luck op.....

Cabrinha Sat 27-Jul-13 11:59:41

It really does depend on the backstory. You sound very rude and U - but if it's in response to bad behaviour in the past, it's more reasonable.
You do sound a bit precious though - she's flying over, of course she'll want a longish visit. Also wanting that time to get stuff done - you're only 7 months. And the tired / seatbelt comment also sound very precious - your weight issues and yours, not hers.
But - I don't know the full story. Has she spent years being rude about your weight, or have you spent years being over sensitive about ordinary comments?
She does sound very difficult though. I'd just suggest in future that if she stays, you sort it out in advance to be absent rather than walking out!

kutee Sat 27-Jul-13 12:10:58

U over reacted. It's clear u didn't want her there and threw a fit first chance you got.

piratecat Sat 27-Jul-13 12:11:42

well you've said it's ten yrs worth of her being a mare, and that your dh is the only one left speaking to her.

If you are at the end of your tether with her then tbh i don't think you are being unreasonable to feel upset.

I do think it was unreasonable to be out on her arrival.
I do think you are being unreasonable in not setting more boundaries, by that i mean she will always have the opportunity to piss you off, if you keep having her back.

ComtesseDeFrouFrou Sat 27-Jul-13 12:11:53

This is a toughy - my MIL is very much as you describe: socially awkward, asking questions in lieu of actual conversation and prone to getting my back up. Unsurprisingly, I'm almost looking for things to be cross about before we've even met up. A lot of the rings she says would be thought of as innocuous to an onlooker but, as part of a pattern, are infuriating.

That said, the time to put a stop to the 9 days was before she came to stay. You should have been clearer with DH about the support you were expecting. It is going to appear rude and unreasonable that you have left for the duration - if she's anything like my MIL, she won't have a clue what she's done wrong and wouldn't understand if it was explained to her.

Personally, I would take a few days out and head back. You might feel more able to cope with it then. I know that, in the same situation, if the visit starts badly, it will get worse. If it starts better, it will inevitably deteriorate, but won't be as bad.

tangerinefeathers Sat 27-Jul-13 16:01:06

Ok so I agree that I have been very unreasonable. I lost my rag. I am exhausted, partly because I've had to clean and cook for her visit all week. And I do have a lot to do before this baby comes, work and study related, it's not about washing muslins and ironing babygros, it's about earning money and preparing for an exam.

My DH was meant to clean the bathroom but went out last night and got pissed with a mate so not even that was done.

I said numerous times that nine days is too long and not what was agreed but DH didn't listen. He also hasn't taken time off as he has none left so I was looking at a full week of her at home plus a weekend on either side.

I don't particularly have weight issues but it is something she tends to comment on. eg 'oh, you've lost weight, around your face' or she said to my sister who was four months pregnant at my wedding, 'gosh, the last time I saw you, you were slim'.

As for going out, i meant to be out before she arrived. This is honestly not a problem - she becomes jealous very easily and much prefers to have her DS to herself. Plus she will be around all week while he is at work so I thought she would like quality time with him and her grandson while he was around. It's also easier on him if he can focus on her fully as she tends to behave better with his full attention.

There is a huge back story, a long history of her behaving very badly. Comtesse your MIL sounds very similar. I can't have been any clearer with my DH about what support I expected but he doesn't listen. Your comments have made me realise that a big part of the problem is how he handles it - sits on the fence, is very passive, doesn't actively manage her behaviour at all (something his therapist has pointed out to him).

kutee yes there is some truth in what you are saying. I'm not proud.

As for the comment about being tired, it was more that I had tried to get things off on the right foot by being friendly etc and the only thing she can say to me is that i look tired. Not in a concerned way, just in a 'you look like shit' kind of way. I think there are better things to say to someone you haven't seen for a year. But she is socially very odd and always has been so I should have let it go. She also made a comment about the kitchen being very old which seemed a bit rude. I suppose it was just the comments coming one after the other, with nothing nice to say, in between lots of intense questioning that is very typical of her, that just pushed me over.

I am by no means the first to react like this - she gets everyone's backs up. She also invades my personal space and if we are walking along she will constantly walk into me, and is just generally very demanding and exhausting to be around.

tumbletumble yes she is very socially awkward and I have always tried to accommodate that. but hit my limit, it seems.

cloudskitchen yes there is a long history of this behaviour.

Flibbedyjibbet she may have not intended the seatbelt comment to be rude. but knowing her she did. I do feel bad for my DH but at the same time he never sticks up for me when she is rude, just laughs it off and tries to jolly everyone along. It gets exhausting. I am staying at my parents tonight, I have told him she needs to work out what to do and apparently he's 'thinking about it' but she's being as good as gold and playing with my DS etc and obviously very happy with how things have worked out. Plus they ate the effing lasagna I cooked yesterday.

ComtesseDeFrouFrou Sat 27-Jul-13 18:45:04

OP well done for being mature enough to recognise all of this - apologies if that sounds patronising, it's not meant to.

I agree that DHs are not the best at managing their mothers - we went to see MIL last week and she clearly wanted to go out for lunch but wouldn't say anything, DH (stubbornly?) didn't pick up on her hints. In the end I had to verbally bang their heads together and get them to sort it out like a pair of 7 year olds.

I have found recently (perhaps because I am PG and have less patience) that it actually helps to pick her up on things she says, particularly where she's being rude or intrusive. Do you feel able to do this? If you do already, how does she react.

If she's socially awkward, she may not realise that she's crossed a line, plus families feel that they can get away with things that friends or strangers can't.

I suspect the comment about your kitchen being old was just the first thing that came into her head. I wonder whether you we're perhaps oversensitive to that comment because it came from your MIL and you feel defensive about the age of the kitchen, particularly if its a question of not having the funds or the inclination to replace it?

Twirlyhot Sat 27-Jul-13 18:54:54

If this were most people, then the seatbelt comment wouldn't be offensive. Someone who's managed to alienate all her family so your DH is the only one she speaks to and who seems to have regular rows that lead to periodic estrangements with him too is not most people. I suspect your DH isn't keen on being left alone with her given their relationship.

LadyClariceCannockMonty Sat 27-Jul-13 19:00:38

TBH I'd have been pissed off right from when she booked for nine days, not one week, as asked, and across two weekends! Any comment after that, even seemingly innocuous, would have tipped me over the edge.

YANBU. And your DH sounds as though he needs to man up and not let her invite herself for unagreed periods of time too.

She sounds bloody awful, OP. Commiserations.flowers

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Sat 27-Jul-13 19:52:51

My guess is you were half expecting her to say or do something unpleasant and she obliged with an ambiguous remark almost before she'd got her coat off.

Poor DH having a mum like her. I feel sorry for you too but the timing and duration of her stay was iffy at the outset imo. Of course an apology is only worthwhile if it's sincere so I realise you are wishing her gone but if she stays while you go are you sure she won't fill DH's head with manipulative nonsense while you hide away? How is your DS going to feel? Will he connect your absence with his granny or with your bump?

I don't know what to suggest tbh but without tying yourself in knots can you maybe have a short break this weekend then think what to do?

Jux Sat 27-Jul-13 21:38:55

My ILs are like this. They want to visit, and give us dates. We tell them we're not free for all of them, but we're there for these dates. They come on their dates anyway. We have to run around re-organising everything to accommodate them. They're retired, they go nowhere and see no one except on Tuesday mornings (seriously). It's actually sFIL who likes to goad dh and they have this truly silly playground thing about who's the alpha male.

I think the most sensible thing you can do, op, is what you have done. Your MIL gets to spend time with her precious boys, you get looked after while pg by your parents. No rows. No more hard feelings between you and MIL. DH doesn't have to placate anyone.

tangerinefeathers Sun 28-Jul-13 04:37:41

Thanks comtesse. I would love to be able to set clear boundaries with her but it's not something she responds to well at all. If anything it's a red rag. She thrives on manipulation and mind games. I can't explain what it is like to talk to her except to say that it's very hard work.

Interestingly I was just talking to my dad about her and while he is normally very patient with most people, he reminded me of our wedding. We'd asked my dad to write a speech and MIL to read out a poem. However at the ceremony when she got up she announced that she was also going to be giving a short surprise speech, much to the celebrant's horror, as if it had any religious content she would be in trouble.

Anyway apparently that morning she'd realised my dad was giving a speech, booted him off the desk and began writing one herself (completely without our knowledge). He'd left the draft sitting there. A little later she walked in on him and began questioning him about the accuracy of what he'd written, making it clear that she'd also read his draft. She just has no boundaries and no concept of other's people's space or privacy.

Lady Clarice yep he does need to man up. 100%. I've told him that too. I tend to get trodden on a bit where his family is concerned and I'm not taking it anymore, his loyalty has to be with me. Whatever we do she is going to be impossible, at least if he sticks up for me he only has one problem (also what his therapist pointed out to him, I do love that man).

Donkey I've told DH I want DS to come here today or tonight. I don't know what she's going to say to DH. DS is only 2.5 so unless she offers him icecream or peppa pig he won't listen. If she does spout anything to him about me (and I'm sure she will) well I can't change that. He needs to talk to his therapist, I am really feeling as if he's so screwed up about women because of her that whatever I do I can't win. In terms of him finally talking to someone professionally about his childhood she has timed this visit very badly and while it was always going to end badly it's really come to a head about eight years of blow ups and simmering truces.

Thanks Jux. I share your pain grin

Vatta Sun 28-Jul-13 05:15:47

I noticed a few things in your posts that made me wonder if she has special needs of some kind?

Social awkwardness, lacking awareness of normal social boundaries, lacking sense of personal space, bumping into people/objects can all be indicators of problems along the lines of aspergers/dyspraxia/dyslexia.

If your dh is trying to understand her/maintain the relationship then it might help just to google the conditions a bit, see if it fits. It's unlikely she'll be able to significantly change her behaviour even with a formal diagnosis but it might make it easier to deal with her if you know more about where she's coming from.

Alternatively she may just be a difficult or unpleasant person (some people are!) but the comment about walking into you in particular made me wonder if there's something more going on here.

tangerinefeathers Sun 28-Jul-13 08:54:38

That is really interesting Vatta. I am going to do some googling now. The walking into me thing is also something my BIL (her other son) does at times. If she had some kind of a diagnosis it would make things easier. She honestly seems to lack awareness of her behaviour. DH was saying that this morning she only washed her own dishes, and only made coffee for herself - there is something almost toddler-like about her selfishness sometimes.

She's leaving tonight to go home. I think it's for the best, I do feel sorry for her but it's already been too much. She became verbally quite aggressive with DH when he talked to her this morning.

One positive is that my DS has had a good time with her, drawing etc, so I think at Christmas when we were due to visit her we will stay somewhere else. I'm not going to see her again but I don't want that to mean she can't see DH and DS, particularly if they stick to short visits eg 2 hrs as someone suggested here. We do have a personality clash and it's not much fun for anyone.

anyway some really helpful suggestions on here - thank you.

Partridge Sun 28-Jul-13 09:17:08

Very, very sad that you refuse to see her again without trying to resolve anything.

My dh doesn't get on brilliantly with my mum and it is excruciating for me being stuck in the middle. I feel very sorry for him. And her. And nothing I have read here is worthy of refusing to see her again (sorry if I have misunderstood and you are planning to sort things out). It is very easy to pathologies her as having a problem and being unable to change. Absolves you of any guilt when taking this extraordinary stance. Very sad.

Partridge Sun 28-Jul-13 09:19:02

I also hope you have another ds and then you may be forced to develop some empathy for the incredibly invidious position that is being the mil.

Partridge Sun 28-Jul-13 09:22:27

* pathologise * sorry - auto corrected.

curlew Sun 28-Jul-13 09:25:08

I often wonder what would happen if some of these MIL stories were posted as if it was a male DP refusing to be in the house at the same time as the OP's mother, or taking offence at perfectly innocent remarks made by her......

tangerinefeathers Sun 28-Jul-13 09:33:29

partridge As I said I have no intention of getting in the way of my DH's relationship with his mother. My DS likes her and will make his own relationship with her independently of me.

This has been eight years in the making - i have tried again and again to get along with her, to have a successful visit, and forgiven her for saying and doing some astonishingly rude and selfish things.

She is unable to change. I am in a far better position to judge that than you. Both her sons have had severe mental health issues as a result of her parenting, and she did some horrific things to my DH when he was a child. Sending his dog away, taking him to live on the other side of the world away from his father and siblings, deciding at the last minute when he was due to visit his father that he couldn't go. She drank, was violent and emotionally abusive. His childhood was hell at times, and he is only really acknowledging it now. This isn't just a tiff, she has some serious problems and while I do feel sorry for her there comes a point when you have to just give up.

As for your last comment, well, time will tell. I may be the MIL from hell, but I hope not to be. I'm sure it's difficult, but I have never had these problems with any of my other boyfriend's mothers so I don't think it's 100% my fault.

Roshbegosh Sun 28-Jul-13 09:34:07

Yes curlew me too. Being DM gives you all the power and oh boy do people use it. I was reading another thread where some posters think it reasonable to visit MIL's home and dictate who does the chores. Position reversed it would be "fuck off out of my house". Wait a few years and then see ...

Roshbegosh Sun 28-Jul-13 09:35:44

Sorry tangerine not having a go at you at all. Just saying it is tricky.

Finallygotaroundtoit Sun 28-Jul-13 09:37:23

Like Vatta I wondered about aspergers.

Turn this around a bit and you may see things differently. If she doesn't understand social rules she may have no idea how or why she keeps offending you sad

If she can only make conversation by asking you questions, every attempt to connect with you pushes you further away.

She perhaps responds with anger and frustration because she is incapable of seeing things from another perspective - and may not be doing it deliberately at all, which is what you (and the rest of her family and friends think)

She wants breakfast so makes it for herself.She is probably unaware that this is rude and selfish if she cannot think the way you do.

The wedding thing may have just been about trying to keep up with social norms that everyone but her understands and getting it wrong.

Finallygotaroundtoit Sun 28-Jul-13 09:41:18

Just read about DH's childhood. It sound terrible but I'm still wondering if the abuse could have been part of lacking empathy ?

Where was his Dad when this was going on?

Partridge Sun 28-Jul-13 09:41:57

Ok fair dos. That does sound a lot worse than you had previously implied. Going from her comments to you up thread your reaction was totally disproportionate.

MissMarplesBloomers Sun 28-Jul-13 09:43:35

Patridge & curlew have you actually read the whole thread & all of tangerinesposts? shock

She has tried and tried to resolve things it seems and taking herself away from the situation rather than end of up having an unholy row with MIL, not good for anyone,particularly herself and the baby!

Walk a mile in her shoes before you criticise!

tangerinefeathers Sun 28-Jul-13 09:48:42

finallygotaroundtoit you may be right, but she doesn't fit all the criteria (from my admittedly brief read). I think perhaps she is 'stuck' at about six years old. There is definitely an element of not getting it, but there is also some 'naughty' behaviour that reminds me of the way a child would behave - eg she might take one of my scarves but then wear it the next time I see her, or eat food off my plate before I've finished and pretend not to realise.

If the visits always turn sour when she comes to us but are OK without me there and limited to shorter visits in her own home then I don't see what the problem is. It's really not as if she likes me, that has always been clear. She treats DH like a child and resents my presence, so my stepping away a bit is not going to upset her at all, and will make my life a lot more pleasant.

JustinBsMum Sun 28-Jul-13 09:52:44

But do wonder why she ended up coming for 9 days, NINE, far too long. A couple of nights is more than enough for most. Then you could steel yourself, OP, just grit teeth and have a rant when she is gone.

You and DH need to man up a bit too and tell her two days is enough or whatever.

Do you believe that you can actually keep her out of your's and DCs lives for ever. If you can't would be better to make up a bit. But only have her visit for a day or two in the future.

tangerinefeathers Sun 28-Jul-13 09:53:48

Thanks Mrs Marples

Finally her father was in another country; he came to visit as often as he could but had other children, a wife and business in his own country (plus didn't speak english) so could not move near DH permanently. Her taking DH away broke his heart.

tangerinefeathers Sun 28-Jul-13 09:56:31

Justin of course I am not going to keep her out of our lives permanently. She has constant huge bust-ups with people, she is speaking to no one else in her family, including her other son.

But yes shorter visits are going to be the norm from now onwards, my DH has admitted he should have been firmer on that point and we won't let that happen again.

My DS can make up his own mind about having a relationship with her, that is not my business. She is his grandmother and that doesn't change.

tangerinefeathers Sun 28-Jul-13 09:57:56

sorry Missmarples that should be 'his father'

Partridge Sun 28-Jul-13 10:11:08

Miss marples I have a mil who regularly makes remarks such as, "have you always been a heavy girl?" and " I always knew you'd be an extravagant wife," plus telling me she hates all her gs names.

She didn't tell my dh when his father had died (despite him having a good relationship with his df). so i think i have walked a mile thank you very much. However she adores my kids and my husband wants to maintain a relationship with her. I love him and I wouldn't dream of making that awkward for him.

We don't see her much and I confront her when her behaviour is out of line. She ignores this but I feel better for standing up for myself. She doesn't mean to be evil and had a very cold, dysfunctional childhood herself. I am the lucky one with warm, loving relationships so can be the bigger person in this instance. Plus I have some empathy for her - life is tough when you find it so hard to communicate positively with people.

Isetan Sun 28-Jul-13 11:27:37

As with most MIL issues, the issues mainly stem from their children's inability to stand-up to them.

Your H needs to take more responsibility when she visits. Him not cleaning the bathroom, inviting his awkward mother when he had no leave left and not making alternative arrangements when she extended her stay is bang out of order. She does sound like she has some serious issues which she probably isn't that aware of rather than being a total cow (which explains why your H's childhood was so dysfunctional and abusive).

This has gone on long enough so your expectations of both your H and MIL should have been set by now, she's socially awkward and has no respect for boundaries and your H is weak. It didn't take hindsight to foresee what was going to happen. If you are going to invite her then you need to develop a much thicker skin and develop strategies for dealing with her (running away from your own house is avoiding, not handling). This isn't just about you OP, your children will learn a lot from how you conduct yourself.

Communicate what your boundaries are, communicate the consequences of overstepping those boundaries and most important, follow through.

Your H may never really stand up and defend you, deal with it, stand up for yourself. Do not let your children grow up in a house where respect and accountability are missing.

tangerinefeathers Sun 28-Jul-13 13:31:37

Totally agree Isetan. We are not used to having a small child being around to witness our adult dramas and need to take him into account in future. That's one of the things my DH said today - it's not just me anymore, I need to think of you and DS.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Jux Mon 29-Jul-13 03:23:39

Quite agree, LunaticFringe. We are taught to be kind, polite and so when we first notice that something's a bit off, we tend to disbelieve it. Then, our h's say "oh that's just how she is" so we try tolerance, but it gets woorse, and evetually it's intolerable. Then our h's let us down and suddenly there you are, leaving the house when she arrives..... Yes, I've been there, could you tell?

tangerinefeathers Mon 29-Jul-13 05:44:36

Yes exactly lunaticfringe and jux.

In retrospect there was absolutely no way in hell I could have had her in my house for nine days. I kept trying to say that to DH but he has a way of simply not hearing. We need to have a big talk about how all this has come about, he can't be so passive and 'nice' all the time, while hell breaks loose around him, it's also something his therapist has confronted him about.

He dropped her at the airport last night thank god. She left by saying we are not welcome at her house but DS is, and she will see him on his own (he's not even three yet so not quite sure how that will work, does she expect us to put him on a bus??). And when DH asked her not to say horrible things about his father she told him that he used to hit her. His father died a few years ago so is hardly in a position to refute this.

She was also apparently very nasty about me but he wouldn't tell me what she said.

All DH can say is how 'disappointed' he is. He never gets angry. It's so strange.

JustinBsMum Mon 29-Jul-13 08:15:36

If he never gets angry he probably has trained himself over many years as he grew up (maybe his father's example?) to suppress it and be resigned to her behaviour (maybe his father's example was so extreme he preferred to suppress his own anger instead).

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

tangerinefeathers Mon 29-Jul-13 11:23:36

Oh she hasn't only just started in on the FIL Lunaticfringe! It's been going on for years.... one of the biggest problems is that despite the fact that DH is the only person in her family still talking to her, apparently it's everyone else that is crazy. My FIL was always nice to me, stressed at times but not someone with violent tendencies, it wasn't his nature.

Justinsmum yes he has definitely trained himself not to get angry. No wonder he got depressed instead, don't 'they' say that's anger turned inwards?

Marylou2 Mon 29-Jul-13 12:01:39

Dear Tangerinefearthers, I can feel your stresss and anxiety and I know it's not just based on the comments in your post. I'm sure there's a lifetime of toxic comments and petty attempts to undermine you. I can almost feel this womans anger and jealousy seeping from her. You have every reason to be cross as she is invading your space for such long time as you are preparing for your baby to arrive. Perhaps this time as she's already here you just have to take a deep breath and put one foot in front of the other until she leaves As Churchill said "When you're going through hell, Keep going...." Also next time maybe a weekend in a hotel rather than a week in your home.

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