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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!

jerryfudd Sun 27-Oct-13 16:51:13

I don't understand the not giving the child back??

So you said "here, give him to me" and point blank said "no"??

If this was the case I'm afraid I would have lost it and repeated and taken said child - how could she have stopped you?

Think you just need to be a bit more assertive

Gobbolinothewitchscat Sun 27-Oct-13 16:57:49

jerry - yes. That's basically it. She immediately handed him to DH though whilst saying that DH needed to hold him for the next photo. We'd already had numerous group shots round the breakfast table but we were to go outside for more. So DH carried him outside

If she hadn't given him back, I would have grabbed him and I do agree that I should have been more assertive and not actually handed him across in the first instance. I won't again. She can certainly hold him but not near any hot drinks/dangerous things and I will take him back immediately if she ignores that

I think I'm just so taken aback as my own parents would just never act like that so I just don't know how to deal with it

walkdowntheavenue Sun 27-Oct-13 17:05:43

What's her obsession with photos? Has this always been the case or is she scared of missing memories/moments?
She sounds as though she has completely forgotten how wriggly children are and how careful you need to be with them. You admit that you forgot to strap him in because of her urgency for photos, if you challenge her on the coffee cup be prepared to have this thrown at you. It might be an ideal time to discuss the use of her family as background props for her photo habit!

jerryfudd Sun 27-Oct-13 17:14:18

How odd. I'm not confrontational at all but being told no to my request for my child back would have set me off along lines of "what do you mean no? Give him here now" and if I couldn't have grabbed him back at that point and she'd managed to bypass me like I was nobody and give child to dh I'd have taken him straight off him too to make my point/stop her precious photos.

Oh and the splitting the bill would have barked me too

jerryfudd Sun 27-Oct-13 17:15:44

*narked even

VestaCurry Sun 27-Oct-13 17:27:33

Does she have mh issues?

Gobbolinothewitchscat Sun 27-Oct-13 17:38:44

No diagnosed mental health issues.

The thing with the photos is to put them on Facebook/show them to people etc.

It's all very complicated. Sorry - my mammoth first post wasnt very clear. The "favoured child" is actually MIL's step-brother/DH's step-uncle. MIL's mother is still alive as is her step-father and they were both at the weekend. MIL does get a hard time from her mother who -- having more sense than MIL-- was telling her to hold DS tightly/watch cups etc. I was trying not to pile in too. But I'm not going to worry about that in future

OvertiredandConfused Sun 27-Oct-13 17:41:49

What a horrible weekend!

I think it is a bit soon to decide about whether they have DS unsupervised. You need to decide on two fronts, firstly if you think he will be safe and happy and, only if the answer to the first question is yes, if you are prepared to let him go.

MiL deciding what will happen for the whole family has to stop. In retrospect, what you should've done with the hotel is point out that you hadn't authorised that expenditure to your room, said what you would pay and left the rest for MiL. I know it isn't about the money, but it makes an important statement.

If there is a next time, make sure you state clearly when checking in what can, and can't be charged to your account. You can even make a joke of it and say to staff that you aren't going to make the mistake of letting FIL / BiL charge to your room again and how can you make sure that doesn't happen!

When you have another DC, that might be a good time to make your own detailed arrangements that fit broadly with MiL. So, for example, talk to staff yourself about your seating requirements for your family. Only as small thing but it puts you in control.

Good luck

brettgirl2 Sun 27-Oct-13 18:27:29

fgs just say you aren't going to the 60 th celebration. If she gets in a strop so be it. It's ok for you to stay in hotel room wtf?!

Scrounger Sun 27-Oct-13 18:41:18

I agree with the other posters, get your arrangements / billing in place before hand. I wouldn't go to the 60th sounds awful and waaaaay too soon after the birth. How about being pre-emptive and say that you cannot make that trip but suggest an alternative time for your family to get together to celebrate (ie MIL, FIL, DH and two DC) or buy them a trip for themselves to celebrate e.g. theatre tickets for a play they would love or something. You look caring and you don't have to go and sit in a hotel room with two small children. Oh what fun.

SharpLily Sun 27-Oct-13 18:58:20

I think I'd be yet more concerned at her putting photos of my child all over fucking Facebook! Does she not know the internet is not a safe place? Nobody will be taking pictures of my child without my consent and a very clear statement of exactly where is and isn't appropriate for said pics to appear. Shit, I don't even let people put random photos of my dog online!

Gobbolinothewitchscat Sun 27-Oct-13 19:19:55

What's the issue with facebook? confused. Sorry - am honestly confused

I do put the occasional photo of DS on but have tight security settings.

MIL never has the opportunity to take any naked photos or anything of DS. And she doesn't have many facebook friends

My issue is that she ensures that any photos she has of DS DO NOT have me in them.

Wibblypiglikesbananas Sun 27-Oct-13 19:25:58

This all sounds hideous and I really feel for you.

However, there do seem to be some things you could have done to be more assertive. Why are you so bothered about offending people who are so quick to be rude and offensive to you?

- Tell your MIL to hand your child back to you when you choose - she has no right not to do this.

- Report all pics she puts on FB of your children.

- Why did you pay the bill? You could have queried it with the hotel!

- Your husband needs to understand that just because he puts up with your MIL's shit, you won't.

SharpLily Sun 27-Oct-13 19:30:33

Anyone can have access to her pics on Facebook - you might use your security settings but does she? Pictures can be used in unpleasant ways and I find it abhorrent that anyone can post pictures of someone else's child without asking for permission and making sure that only trusted people can see it. You can learn an awful lot about people from their internet behaviour, even when they think they're being careful. (But I realise I'm unusually strict about this. I once took legal action against a friend for putting a picture of me on her blog and refusing to remove it when asked nicely. We're not friends anymore).

Nora2012 Sun 27-Oct-13 19:38:26

I read the whole post and I'm starting to wonder if there needs to be a support group for moron MILs. My honest opinion is from this description I wouldn't allow them to look after my child. I also think this makes a fairly big statement so that may hopefully be a good thing. It sounds silly when you say "won't give the child back" but I know exactly what you mean and without rugby tacking her and screaming for help there's not much you can do. This is a technique I have considered.

Gobbolinothewitchscat Sun 27-Oct-13 19:40:15

wibbly - I think it's less that is worried about offending than I'm honestly taken aback as my own parents and general family set up are totally different so I'm not very sure how to react.

I need to be more on the ball! I contemplated NOT paying the bill - very seriously but then decided that actually I just wanted to get out if there and get home ASAP. I didn't want to run into MIL who was off packing as I felt like my nerves were shot. I previously worked in a very high stress environment and I honestly felt as stressed as I ever had today. Kind of powerless and frightened at what could have happened to DS.

Frankly, after today, I would like to never see any of them again. But I know that would really hurt DH and I would ideally like DS to have a good relationship with both sets of grandparents. Like I did

However, attila's post rings very true in a lot if cases which is worrying!

I do agree that I need to be much more prepared for MIL in the future. Urgghh. What a nightmare. Who wants to live like this.

theoriginalandbestrookie Sun 27-Oct-13 20:05:47

They sound dreadful. How long are they meant to be looking after your DS for? Is it necessary or because they want to?

Re the night away for MIL next year. Ideally just say you can't go because it's too close to due date and you don't know how you will feel. Maybe twist it to emphasise how it's MIL's special day so you don't want focus of attention to be on your new DC.
However if that is not an option then find out what the cancellation policy is for the hotel. No way hose I would be dragging myself out with a newborn and a very young DC to pay £££ to sit in a hotel room by myself.
Get DH to go on his own if you can - but just for the day or he will still be lumbered with everyones cost, but even more unfair as just him.

Gobbolinothewitchscat Sun 27-Oct-13 20:17:10

original - it's for the day. From 10:00am-ish - 6:00pm-ish

Ironically it's for our NCT course for baby 2 just want to meet some we chums

My parents have previously looked after DS before overnight when we went to a wedding as has my DSIS. The difference is that they treat him like an egg in a cake and are very careful with him.

In the spirit if "fairness", I suggested that MIL and FIL should come to the house and do it this time

I don't know what to do. At the moment, I would ideally like NOT to have them do it. But I'm aware that, as they see it, that would be putting a huge line in the sand. On the other hand, I'm not sure I could go to the course and not sit there worrying all day long.

Part of me thinks that a middle ground would be to let them do it this one time but not facilitate it in the future - there really won't be any other similar occasions in the near future and my parents will look after DS whilst I'm in labour etc.

I'm just totally fed up with them

Re the 60th, I have said to FIL that I will have to see how I am at the time but have no intention of going. DH can go on his own.

scrounger - your ideas are really kind. ATM, I don't want to see MIL for a very long time. I really do not want to spend time with her. I think the tickets or the night away would be best and then we don't need to go. Although the childish part of me wants to get her something from the £1 shop on the basis that we spent so much money this weekend!

lily - eeek re facebook!

Gobbolinothewitchscat Sun 27-Oct-13 20:18:01

wibbly sorry last question what happens if I report the facebook photos of DS?

Gobbolinothewitchscat Sun 27-Oct-13 21:17:53

MIL has now texted me - not DH - to ask if they have done something wrong

Part of me wonders if I should get some balls and say yes. Alternatively, DH could call her and discuss.

I'm just going to ignore the text tonight.

Nanny0gg Sun 27-Oct-13 23:39:43

I think you need to at least raise the subject of the bill - she's given you the perfect opening. But by all means let your DH discuss it.
That may well lead on to the rest of the problem, but that may be a good thing.

FunnyRunner Mon 28-Oct-13 00:09:41

Attila might be better able to advise you on how to respond, as I know she has posted a lot about dealing with narcs. The thing is, if you are normal it's tempting to think, yes now's a good time to mention the bill but if she really is a narc there's always a way for them to twist things round. You really need your DH on side here but as others have mentioned the whole FOG thing will cloud his judgement. If you find her behaviour stressful, think how much MORE stressful your DH finds the idea of challenging her. Nothing much helpful to add other than to send sympathy over the bill thing.

KeatsiePie Mon 28-Oct-13 02:35:45

As far as looking after your DS in a few weeks goes, I think that depends on whether she considers it to be a photo opp. -- obviously when she is all about the family photos she is a nightmare but if it is just a day of quiet babysitting in her home will she stay sane and take good care of him?

Her/their behavior wrt. the cost-splitting was just very rude. I'd say you won't be up to a trip away with a new baby and leave it at that -- you know you can't rely on them to be sensible about plans or reasonable about the cost of plans, so you have to just keep out of those situations in the future, or do whatever damage control you can do ahead and during. I would have found the meal you described to be a shitty experience so wouldn't be anxious to repeat it without or without a newborn.

DistanceCall Mon 28-Oct-13 03:11:20

I think both you and your husband (this is important: both of you as a united front) should send a message saying that you think it wasn't fair to split the bill equally, and so on. And that you are upset that your child was engandered.

They may raise a ruckus, but so be it. This kind of people thrive on other people's reluctance to bring problems up.

Driz Mon 28-Oct-13 03:26:33

I don't really see how the MIL has been that bad (I did get a little bored of reading tbh) PIL didn't arrive early enough, they designate chairs incorrectly and spill cold coffee. Hardly an issue. OP hates them, they will never be able to do right, so they are unreasonable and have MH issues. Riiiiight.

Thumbfuckerwitch Mon 28-Oct-13 03:37:12

I think your perspective is wrong regarding your MIL looking after your DS, tbh. You shouldn't be worrying about fairness to them, you should be worrying about what is right for your DS - and someone who is more concerned about fucking photo opportunities than his safety, is not someone I would let near my children unsupervised

Re. the bill - that's just ridiculous but obviously your MIL was sucking up - to her mother? to her step-brother? Who knows, but her thoughts weren't anywhere near considering how it would affect you and your DH. She's still desperately seeking approval from her own dysfunctional family.

Re. the text - get your DH to phone her and explain. Stay out of it and really, I wouldn't engage with her if you don't have to. And FGS don't say "No, it's all fine, really" because it ISN'T.

milktraylady Mon 28-Oct-13 04:19:24

Read your op and I agree with atilla. Your mil is a narc.
Very difficult to manage.
Good luckhmm

Heebiejeebie Mon 28-Oct-13 05:51:27

Reading through, the facts themselves don't sound too bad.

Your millionaire BIL paid twice as much for the meal as you (so his children paid 1/2 adult price). You didn't put your baby safely in his high chair so he fell out, she let him spill cold coffee. She wanted some family photos, you are cross that you are in the back row. You have been invited to a family event in a hotel 3 weeks after your due date, you are just cross. I think you are being unreasonable and think its a bit crap to ignore the text. If you were huffing and eye rolling enough for them to notice, then take the opportunity to tell them what you are pissed off about (cost of meal, your son's safety, not being centre stage in photos, being worried about forthcoming event). Or if you decide it's impossible to explain clearly without sounding petty, have a think why that might be.

Gobbolinothewitchscat Mon 28-Oct-13 10:20:05

Hmmm - it is hard. I've thought about this a lot last night and I think the main thing I want to do is support DH and for us to have a totally united front - as suggested above

DH is actually off sick today and I don't want to bother him with MIL's text as he feels so rotten.

I've spoken to my mum who is very of the opinion that we should all work as hard as we can to have as good a relationship with the PIL's as possible fir the sake if DS although she does accept that his safety has to come first. And any decisions not to currently let them look after DS need to be made by both of us - partly as that's fair but also to make it clear to MIL that this is not just me and I'm not the scapegoat. Mum did point out that my paternal grandmother did do some quite odd things - such as throwing my sister's comfort blanket kin the bin shock. But my mum tried to steer a middle ground with her and we did have a very good relationship with her.

MIL's text is obviously still hanging unanswered I'm pissed off that she has texted me and not DH - obviously I'm the problem. But I'm trying to let that go over my head Still not sure what to do about it. I'm wondering about texting back saying Hi MIL, as you know, DS wasn't very well and it was time for his sleep so we had to head off. As you saw at breakfast with the coffee and grabbing the knife, he is into everything at the moment and it was all a bit overwhelming and unsafe for him so best to get him home. We were also concerned about the weather. My back is also very painful at the moment and I'm on co-codamol true so it was really quite an effort for us to make this weekend. However, [MIL's step-brother] was very grateful we came, which is all that matters, and we're glad we were able to. In future, to ensure you see more of DS if you would like, we could all make an effort to communicate better as obviously we were there for lunch on the Saturday and that would have been a perfect opportunity for you to spend some time with him but we weren't very sure what the plans were etc. X

Once DH has recovered, he can speak to her re the bill etc. Although, I take attila's point that she is hardly likely to be reasonable about that so I think the best thing is to be canny about things like that though and just ensure that we are not put in the position of paying like that again - by that, I mean that I should have held up the queue, itemised the bill and just paid our share.

As we only had the equivalent of two starters, two lemonades and a few glasses of wine, our share was a lot cheaper than MIL's step-brother's family's bill which was 6 adult mains and starters plus drinks fir 4 children and wine for the adults etc.

"I've spoken to my mum who is very of the opinion that we should all work as hard as we can to have as good a relationship with the PIL's as possible fir the sake if DS although she does accept that his safety has to come first"

I can certainly see where your Mother is coming from here but the problem is that MIL and FIL are very much unreasonable and difficult in the first place and will always put their own needs above that of anyone else's. You are not dealing with normal reasonable people here but instead with people who do not and never will play by the "normal" rules governing familial relations. Also relationships are two way; it is no point putting in the effort if it is not in any way reciprocated. All MIL cares about really is MIL: her behaviours are all typically narcissistic. You have to date received no apology of any sort from either MIL or FIL and you will not receive one. These people do not think they have done anything wrong in the first place and will not take any responsibility for their actions.

I would also argue that if they are too difficult for you to deal with, then they are certainly too difficult for your both vulnerable and defenceless child.

Your mother is certainly right in that your DSs safety needs to come first.

Holdthepage Mon 28-Oct-13 11:15:00

I can understand that you didn't enjoy the occasion but that is the way of these things sometimes, I am sure that having a terrible meal didn't help, but it doesn't make your MIL a monster & it is certainly not worth falling out over. Family get togethers with small children in hotels can often be fraught for the parents & I wonder if sometimes GPs forget what it was like.

Some of the things you have complained about are just petty. I mean GPs wanting photos of their DGC whatever next! If your child had not been on the photos you would probably have been offended by that too.

If you don't want to split the cost of a bill for a meal you should say so at the time, I wonder how on earth you expected everyone to remember the next day what you had to eat.

I am genuinely not trying to be harsh but I do think you are overreacting to a weekend that wasn't the best but certainly not worth damaging future relations with your in laws.

EldritchCleavage Mon 28-Oct-13 11:21:29

we should all work as hard as we can to have as good a relationship with the PIL's as possible fir the sake if DS

I'm not sure that is quite the right emphasis, though. I think you need to work to have healthy balanced relationships that work for everyone, including you. It is far more important for your DS to see you having good relationships and maintaining healthy boundaries than martyring yourself in the face of bad behaviour so he can have a relationship with grandparents who quite possibly may care more about the photographs.

If you reply to your MIL (who sounds very hard going-lots of arguably minor things in your OP, certainly, but they do paint a picture of a difficult woman) then I suggest email not text, and saying:

It is not on to commit you to sharing a bill in that way without asking you, especially since it resulted in a significant unfairness to you. Everyone should be consulted; She was not careful enough of DS's safety when she was holding him, and you need her to commit to being much more careful in future.

The stuff about her persistent discourtesy to you is something for your DH to tackle another time, I think. And do mention the text to your DH now, even if you agree to discuss it when he's feeling better.

ljny Mon 28-Oct-13 11:21:47

You will never persuade MIL that the bill was unfair and you'll never persuade her that your baby could have been scalded.

Agree with DistanceCall about sending the reply, so you've said what you think. But don't expect her to agree, and don't engage in further discussion about it, you're on a hiding to nothing.

She won't change. You need to decide what works for you. If you're worried about DS, don't let her and FIL babysit. Doesn't matter if you're right or wrong, you need to leave your baby with someone you trust. Make other arrangements and just tell her your plans have changed. You don't need to explain or justify.

The fact that she avoids any photos of your DS with you, his mum, speaks volumes.

Glimmerberry Mon 28-Oct-13 11:30:52

You know, all I read here is a lack of assertive behaviour on your part. The common factor in all the incidents you describe is you and your response. This is also the only aspect you can control.

You have a child. This means you now have permission to shamelessly put them first at all times.

Photos? No, DS is going to eat now.
Move seats? No, we're sitting with DS.
Any other irritating trivial issue that tends to another adults apparent "needs" or wants? No, I'm strapping DS in/tending to whatever part of your routine puts his safety and wellbeing first.

Provided you remain calm, and breathe, you can deliver these no statements politely with no need for argument.

Your family will learn that if they want to spend time with you and your DC they'll have to work around your routine. If they don't learn, well tough, your DC come first. And everytime you're lacking in confidence, imagine if that cup of coffee had been hot.

impty Mon 28-Oct-13 11:31:53

Wow what a weekend. Don't do it again, will you? You don't have to let MIL look after your children if you don't think they'll be looked after properly.

Perhaps disengage for a while. I generally leave dh to talk to his parents, especially the bad stuff! We decided not to do the hotel meal thing once, as they were being done yearly (special birthdays, anniversaries etc). They weren't suggested again.

It takes time to establish boundaries with parents, when they become the grandparents, but you do need to. I try and be polite, nice but firm. I usually works- but my dd1 is now 16 so it hasn't happened over night.

Good luck.

BloodiedGhouloshes Mon 28-Oct-13 11:32:05

I am wading through this, but would warn against sending a text that sounds like excuses upon excuses upon apologies. You have some legitimate gripes here, as well as some pissed-off gripes that might be a bit OTT, so don't apologise/explain or justify just yet. Just wait a bit more and consider it.

TheFabulousFuckingIdiotFucker Mon 28-Oct-13 11:37:37

I think you should text her back, and be honest.

She has opened a dialogue with you and you need to have the balls to accept the challenge.

TheFabulousFuckingIdiotFucker Mon 28-Oct-13 11:41:45

but I think your response above is far too wordy and full of too much detail.

Also I think a text saying 'have we done anything wrong' needs to be handled cleverly.

maybe respond with something like 'Dear MIL, could you elaborate? hopefully our leaving when we did after the meal was not an issue'

I wouldn't even bother with all the bill stuff, it's over and done with and you just need to make sure it doesn't happen again.

youretoastmildred Mon 28-Oct-13 11:42:55

Just reading about that palaver at the breakfast table made me want to scream for you, Gobbolino.

"MIL's text is obviously still hanging unanswered I'm pissed off that she has texted me and not DH - obviously I'm the problem. But I'm trying to let that go over my head"

I think you should regard it as a good thing that MIL has gone straight to you - because this is your chance to tell the truth.

I agree that "try as hard as poss" to get on is the wrong emphasis. You are trying very hard already, now you need to try to get MIL to listen and understand your needs too.

I would tweak your proposed text a little. It is not enough about what you want her to change.

- I think you should tell her that you were freaked out by the coffee and the knives, and that you are reconsidering the planned day of MIL looking after dc - and that you will need to find other ways / contexts for MIL to bond with dc

- in that vein you can say that communicating about scheduling can help that (like the lunch your family had alone) - evening is not a time for socialising with babies - you can actually say this even though it is obvious

- again, on communication, you can say the bill wasn't split fairly as you and dh didn't get enough to eat and paid a fortune for it. Say you don't expect her to have known that but say that communicating about how the bill was to be split was what you need

- say that you will soon have 2dcs and need her support and know (ha ha ha) that she will be able to work with you on this

- and explicitly name the proposed event that FIL was talking about as a test case. Not use those words but say something like "which is why I am glad that we are already discussing such and such because none of this needs to happen again"

I am not sure that she is necessarily impossible. I think - pain in the arse tho it is - it may be that explicitly, loudly, firmly, making reasonable demands, may get them met.

I have just been out with a group of friends, they are lovely people but I find it exhausting that there are a few alpha-organisers in the group who just do not understand that it is not up to them to make unilateral decisions. A waiter will approach the table and ask a question, and one of them will answer for everyone, and I will have to say that I want something different 3 times, finally in an embarrassingly consciously loud voice, to get it registered. I hate it, but they mean well. Could it be that MIL is one of those? (hopeful)

EldritchCleavage Mon 28-Oct-13 11:43:45

I agree with Glimmerberyy. And thinking along those lines, a text would be best directed at what you want to happen from now on.

So, no bill-splitting arrangements you don't know about, please, and you expect MIL to take the lead from you re DS and what he needs.

DistanceCall Mon 28-Oct-13 12:36:44

You can send the text yourself. But I think you should at least show it to your husband first, and make it very clear in the message that your husband agrees with everything. As I said, it is crucial that you present a united front - otherwise, you'll just be the bitchy daughter-in-law causing trouble.

And as other posters have said, you need to be more assertive. Polite and calm, but assertive. If you don't want to hand your child over, you don't have to. If you have to hold up the queue to itemise your bill, so be it. If you don't want to leave your child with your parents-in-law, you don't have to give any justifications (other than agree with your partner, who seems to be on the same page as you on this).

Pinkpinot Mon 28-Oct-13 12:44:17

Oh god, long texts like that could be interpreted all sorts if ways
I would
just text back and say
Weekend was fraught and v stressful for lots of reasons, I was upset, we should discuss as there's some things is like to run through with you
I wouldn't go through they long list via text

youretoastmildred Mon 28-Oct-13 12:45:21

Agree pinkpinot but sometimes you get bulldozed face to face

Thumbfuckerwitch Mon 28-Oct-13 12:56:06

I wouldn't send her anything. Anything you send her will be circulated amongst whomever and used against you.
Wait until your DH is feeling up to it, then tell him about the text and let him deal with it.

Really. You have no idea what she could do with a text like that.

clam Mon 28-Oct-13 13:05:59

Agree - even though the text seems reasonable, it WILL be used against you!
Wait until dh gets back, discuss it, decide if and how you're going to respond (text or phone call), compose something together and LET HIM DEAL WITH IT. That lets her know that she can't bypass him like that to get to you.

AnneElliott Mon 28-Oct-13 13:09:56

I get what you mean about the photos OP, my mil has a family photo taken at events like this and then helpfully a separate one for the in-laws!

I would just reduce the time you spend with them in future and don't reply to the text. It will only be used against you.

youretoastmildred Mon 28-Oct-13 13:11:39

oh dear it looks as if I am being very naive taking the "what's wrong?" text at face value. Ignore me.

Cherriesarered Mon 28-Oct-13 20:29:40

Do not let her look after baby alone.

Cherriesarered Mon 28-Oct-13 20:35:59

Dear Mil,

I am pregnant with a young baby. You insisting on mass photography was too much and was stressful and not in baby's or my best interests! Also the bill was huge and you should not have agreed to split it without consultation!

marriedinwhiteisback Mon 28-Oct-13 20:56:26

I'm totally confused.

If it's such an ordeal why can't you just distance yourself a bit. Send DH down for breakfast and let them know you have had a bad night and DS is a bit grizzly so he has had something sent up to you and you will be down in half an hour or so when everyone else has had breakfast.

And if the bill's very high why can't you say "look things are a bit tight at the moment so we're going to stay at a BB but would love to join you for the meal".

Take back control OP.

Gobbolinothewitchscat Tue 29-Oct-13 09:43:12

Update - I sent a text based on the v good suggestions in this thread as hoped MIL would be reasonable. Carefully worded it to say that "we" etc gotbabfright re the coffee.

Unfortunately, I should have listened to the other very good suggestions that I shouldn't bother! grin

Got a very unpleasant text back saying that I should calm down and that babies grab things - er, yes that's why you need to keep things out if their way! Oh, and I was probably upset as I had let DS slip in the high chair

I'm actually quite a non-confrontational person and was hoping that MIL (even if behind our backs was calling us every name under the sun) would text back acknowledging our concerns. What was quite sad was at the end of my text I had said that DS had a bad cough and cold and she was so busy point scoring she didn't even bother to ask how he was.

It's quite hard now. I've down loaded and read half the Toxic Parents In Law book thanks Attila and I kno that DH is not suddenly going to say that MIL is a complete pillock. What I want to do is support him and not let her drive a wedge between us.

I nearly burst a blood vessel when I read the text - nice one, MIL, to make your 7 month pregnant DIL feel like that but I suppose being "right" is more important than any effects on me.

I'm going to speak to DH tonight about how to proceed. Part of me wants to reply and say that it's a shame she can't acknowledge our concerns so its best all round if she doesn't look after DS in November. However, another bit of me is thinking I should ignore it and rise above it. Need to read the rest of the book.

DollyTwat Tue 29-Oct-13 10:17:10

I am a firm believer in that you are entitled to be as precious as you like about your own baby. It's rude of other people to dismiss your concerns and requests over YOUR baby

It doesnt matter if SHE thinks you were overreacting. It upset you to the point you don't want her to look after him. That's the point here

Stick to your guns op, this is the thin end of the wedge and she needs to acknowledge she upset you and needs to listen to any concerns

youretoastmildred Tue 29-Oct-13 10:20:51

Definitely time to bring DH into this
I am sorry if I encouraged you to take a wrong turn here but at least it has brought out into the open that she was not sincerely asking "what's wrong?" but spoiling for a fight.
Work with DH on doing everything on your terms from now on. It may now be necessary to make him do the communicating but you and he must do all the deciding (not her)

Thumbfuckerwitch Tue 29-Oct-13 10:26:32

DO NOT REPLY!!

Not worth it. Leave it to DH. And forget "rising above it" - remember this isn't about the adults, it's about your DC's safety, every time.

Gobbolinothewitchscat Tue 29-Oct-13 10:39:26

mildred - don't apologise! I didn't realise what a loon MIL is. My family are completely different so I just did think she would acknowledge our concerns so we could move on

Now I've calmed down, I actually think she's a bloody idiot who's playing herself completely offside here.

Will speak to DH when he gets home. I have composed various texts but will not be sending them

To those of you who have tosser inlaws - how does it work? Presumably if DH talks her into acknowledging our worries,we could move on. I'm not one to hold a grudge but I do feel massively uncomfortable around her now

"Part of me wants to reply and say that it's a shame she can't acknowledge our concerns so its best all round if she doesn't look after DS in November. However, another bit of me is thinking I should ignore it and rise above it. Need to read the rest of the book".

Certainly read the rest of the book and do not under any circs reply further. Any text messages you send will be used against you, she will continue to lash out and if she is a narcissist her hatred holds no bounds.

I am not at all surprised to see that you yourself come from a family where thankfully such dysfunctional family crap like this is unknown so please do not blame yourself for replying anyway initially; you were trying to be reasonable. Unfortunately it has not worked because at heart you are dealing with someone who is inherently unreasonable and is not in any way receptive to any views you care to put to her. Its her way or no way to her mind. Your views to her do not matter at all.

I doubt also very much that your DH will be able to get her to acknowledge any worries; this man may also be to some extent be in FOG with regards to his mother - fear, obligation and guilt. Your main problem re him is that he has had a lifetime of such conditioning at the hands of his toxic mother and as such he thinks that most aspects of her behaviours are on some level normal. He may well find it difficult if not impossible to assert his own authority at all. He certainly has to remember his primary loyalty now is to you and not his mother.

I would limit as far as possible your own contact with her and I would also include your children in that too. Your DH can see her if he wants to, you do not have to. You are really under no obligation at all to them when toxic relatives are concerned.

Do not forget her own H in all this, such women always but always need a willing enabler to help them. As it the case here.

I would also read up on Narcissistic Personality Disorder with regards to your MIL. If you decide that she is a narcissist in terms of personality it is really not possible to have any sort of relationship with her.

DO NOT let her have your DS in November to look after!!!. You need to make alternative arrangements now.

YellowTulips Tue 29-Oct-13 11:45:36

You are never going to be in the right with this woman. She obviously wants to be the centre of attention at all times and you are not going to be able to reason with her - so stop playing the game.

So as a first put your foot down about the next event. You are not going. Any fool would be able to foresee that planning such an event 3 weeks after a due date is bloody stupid if they expected your (and your DH's) participation as mandatory. You could be late and have a baby a few days old - would your DH even want to attend then?

The whole bill issue was rude. If you do attend any future events then state up front you are not going to do this. Personally I find some of this a bit OTT anyway, by which I mean the whole family being dragged to a posh hotel to celebrate your DH's Uncle Birthday.

I get it more in the case of your MIL's 60th - but these are very expensive events and I think some showing off is involved here - rather than a focus on a celebration and family time.

Finally don't get into a text row with her. Just ignore. Its the most powerful weapon you have for someone who thrives on attention.

YellowTulips Tue 29-Oct-13 12:12:27

Think about this another way OP. Lets say you posted something like this in AIBU:

-------

Its my MIL's 60th Birthday next year and a family event is being planned. This will be in an upmarket hotel and will involve an overnight stay and long evening meal with the extended family. The event will be about 60 miles from where me and my DH live.

In normal circumstances this would not be an issue and I would accept the "invitation" (read mandatory summons) with good grace, however, in this case the circumstances are as follows:

1. I am due to give birth to our second child 3 weeks before the event. So I will have a 1 year old child plus a baby of anywhere between 6 weeks and a few days old at that point in time. Clearly I don't know what shape I will be in following labour and its unlikely that we will have settled into any routine, thus the thought of travel and being away from home is very worrisome.

2. The last similar family event left me very annoyed. Without going into too much detail, MIL enjoys being the centre of attention both during and after the event. This involves taking of copious amounts of photos for her to display on Facebook afterwards for everyone to "coo" over. The photos are more important than anything else (taken breakfast, dinner, arrival, departure) in this case even more than when holding my son being too busy directing photos to stop him reaching out for her coffee which she spilt on him (thankfully not hot enough to cause damage - but by luck only). As a final point MIL decided with no input to spilt the bill equally amongst the family. This ended up myself and my DH paying £100's more than we expected, significantly subsidising more affluent members of the wider family.

So to the point of my question. AIBU to say we wont attend MIL's planned 60th but instead say we would "love" to take them out for a lovely meal a month or so after the birth of our 2nd DC somewhere near to where we live?

-----------------

What responses do you think you would get?

Thumbfuckerwitch Tue 29-Oct-13 12:22:15

I can guarantee that you would still get a few responses along the lines of "Suck it up, she's your MIL, she's only going to have one 60th birthday" and
"I wish my MIL was able to have a 60th birthday do, sadly she died"
and
"OFGS, it's one event, get over yourself, other people manage to do XYZ within hours of giving birth"
and
"It's faaaamily, isn't it - it's more important than money"
etc. etc.
in among the "No! Don't go!" and kind messages showing understanding of the OP's situation.

You should know that by now, Yellow! thlgrin

YellowTulips Tue 29-Oct-13 12:42:02

Actually the similar threads I have seen are pretty overwhelming in support of an OP in a situation like this :-)

Thumbfuckerwitch Tue 29-Oct-13 12:51:51

Yes, but just look at this one - some of the comments on here aren't exactly kind to the OP.

I know what you mean - mostly people are pretty good at being supportive in these situations but you do frequently get the odd nay-sayer.

Gobbolinothewitchscat Tue 29-Oct-13 12:57:53

thumb grin.

I have calmed down somewhat. Am planning to speak to MIL tonight

attila - thank you for the advice in your last post and everyone else

What do people think about trying to paint MIL into a corner somewhat? I'm considering asking DH to say to her that our biggest concern is that she will not acknowledge our worries about keeping DS safe. Therefore, she has a choice. Either she does so with good grace or, alternatively, she can certainly see DS but she and FIL are not looking after him on their own. It is her choice so no victim playing

In terms of the texts etc, she can contact DH directly if she's got any issues not me as whatever she may or may not think about me, I'm 7 months pregnant and it is not fair or acceptable to be upsetting me. I really do not want to receive anymore texts like that and if she won't agree, I'll just block her number. Again, I used to text her photos etc but I won't be doing that if I block her number. Again, her choice though.

I'm sure she'll bluster etc but DH can just stick to a simple script and keep saying "it's your choice".

If I was reading this, I would wonder why I wasn't just totally ignoring her for therest of her life. I'd love to. I would really like to never see her again in my life. But I'm conscious that DH does love his parents and I also want to set up a situation where, if other family members ask or criticise us, we can say it wasn't us stopping her seeing DS - but her choice.

Gobbolinothewitchscat Tue 29-Oct-13 12:58:48

Not speak to MIL tonight Christ speak to DH

Thumbfuckerwitch Tue 29-Oct-13 13:05:49

Coo, glad you changed that to speaking to DH, not MIL! smile

You can try the painting her into a corner, but be aware that it will still be your fault. You will be denying her the chance to visit her grandchildren. Nothing will ever be mentioned about her inability to pay attention to his safety, OH no. It will be portrayed as you being over-cautious to the point of neurotic, and refusing to let ANYone other than yourself and DH have any care of him because you're so precious.

And again - she may only pay lip-service to your concerns - do you really honestly trust her to keep your DC safe? Because I'd need to see some better evidence than she's displayed so far (and that would involve seeing her again) before I let her have sole care of my DC.

Talk to DH anyway - see what he thinks and says - and as long as you both present a united front, you'll be better able to deal with whatever shit she throws at you.

Brucietheshark Tue 29-Oct-13 13:12:13

Nonononononono

Imo you need to disengage a bit more. All those ideas will make you sound like the unreasonable one. I mean it sounds a bit like they have to SAY they were wrong about the coffee but if they don't they won't see your DS unsupervised. Sounds petty and blackmaily to anyone that doesn't understand the back-story. The reality is I wouldn't want them to have him on their own anyway - but I don't need to tell them this.

The stuff about how you shouldn't be upset at 7 months pregnant and you don't want to receive texts like that again could also sound unreasonable tbh. I'm not one that feels I need special emotional consideration at 7 months pregnant (apart, perhaps, from an acceptance that I might sound a tad more irrational than usual). Also, her text was in direct reply to one of yours that could be portrayed as confrontational - plays right into the 'you started it' approach.

You cannot reason with people like this and you can rarely call their bluff of make them respond to ultimatums. Ignoring as much as possible and disengaging is the ONLY way to go. But that's just my take on it of course smile

Gobbolinothewitchscat Tue 29-Oct-13 13:22:39

Right - yes. You're all right

I'm not normally overly precious about being pregnant but I really did feel very upset about her text - partucularly when mine was not confrontational in return (and DH agrees with that). I was shaking when I read hers this morning and actually seeing stars. Was quite odd. So I kind of took the view that that amount of adrenalin was probably not vetygood for the baby. Obviously she diesnt give a fuck about me but I thought she might about the baby

Aarrrggh - this is a nightmare. Why did I not marry an orphan

tobiasfunke Tue 29-Oct-13 13:35:40

I have just read this quickly OP and I apologise if I have missed something. I have PIL's like this. DH has one sister who is the golden child and she and her family can do no wrong. DH and I and our DS are second class citizens who are there for photos for family dos, to pay our share and for backup when SIL lets them down. MIL is totally self absorbed and quite frankly behaves like a loon at times. She is not interested in our DS unless she wants a million photos to show her friends or for other people to see her holding him.

She is not allowed to look after him on his own now as the few times we did she just abandoned him- (when he was 20 months old we left him for 2 hours and she went to bed and fell asleep and FIL went out to Tesco and left the back door open.)
However we said nothing because we knew it would be me being precious and so we just never let them look after him again- not that they really wanted to.

The only way to deal with her is to disengage- be polite but distant and take no shit. Make sure she only deals with your DH. I spent the first 6 months of this year not actually communicating at all with MIL because when I did she was horrible. It was very liberating It took me 20 years to work this out. You cannot change someone as self absorbed as your MIL the more you pander the more she will disregard your feelings. You probably feel like I did for years that the right and proper thing is to say nothing and be respectful to your inlaws. This is only any good if they are sane. If not it is pointless.

I feel for you. I have ongoing problems but deal with them better. As for photos I used to be in the back but recently I was told not to bother as BIL wasn't there and it was family only. I have only been with DH for 21 years.

oscarwilde Tue 29-Oct-13 13:59:53

It's fairly simple. This woman is a pain in the rear. You can choose to let her bother you and stress you out, or not. That choice is yours and yours alone to make. If she turned up tomorrow morning and was unreasonable, it is within your control to smile sweetly, ignore her and let it wash over your head. Trust me on this, it just takes some practice.

The weekend sounded unpleasantly stressful and expensive and I get that you are hacked off but IMO, allowing yourself to be flustered into not securing your DS's in his highchair is probably what is annoying you so much. Accidents happen, we all do it occasionally and I don't think it is fair to hold her responsible even if she is an annoying PITA.

I would shelve the conversation about the cost of the meal. You have missed that boat. If your DH will attend the 60th celebration by himself, just ensure that it is clear that he will be paying only his share. Personally I would do that and not offer to celebrate later. Get your parents to come and help out and send him off. She will have to deal without two small children about if she wants a dinner event. Tough.

Vis the day of childcare while you do the NCT thing. Tread carefully would be my advice. If they are coming to your home (stairgates, no low level ornaments etc etc) and you can trust your FIL to watch over your DS then it should be a safe environment for your DS even if your MIL is a bit flakey. If your FIL will be tapped into the TV all day and totally oblivious to what is going on, I would make alternative arrangements and simply explain that the NCT times changed and it was easier to arrange a babysitter who would take DS to his scheduled soft play/baby sensory/etc etc.

redcaryellowcar Tue 29-Oct-13 14:05:19

I did read your op, but only some of the responses, so sorry if I have missed some stuff or repeating.
I think its totally unreasonable to split the bill without you offering, if it were my parents asking us to come away for the weekend they would be offering to pay (my pil wouldn't)
on the safety of your dc, I certainly wouldn't in same circumstances leave my dc with them, I wouldn't sever all contact but I certainly wouldn't let them look after dc nor dictate who was holding dc etc, think on this you need to be confident and assertive, tricky but pretend if necessary.
as for future meet up I think I would take dc to my parents or ask my dmum to come to me and say to dh that he is of course welcome to go, but not easy for newborn to be v involved in birthday meal.
please don't question yourself too much on this especially the safety of your children, I think your mummy instincts are fully operational!
lastly I would suggest that your dh takes over communications, ideally using the 'we think...' I found that I really don't mind if dh says things like 'redcar is poorly, so we can't meet up...' as I would prefer them to think badly of me than put my children at risk!

brass Tue 29-Oct-13 14:09:54

I feel for you Tobias, I am 18 years down the line and recently NC with them although she still sends letters out of the blue. The last one she wrote two days after a relative died presumably imagining it would corner DH and I into feeling sorry for her. Manipulative much? A normal person might be busying themselves with grieving and making funeral arrangements but she is fixated with putting us on the spot. We are going to the funeral and no doubt she will see that as an opportunity for another performance.

Her letter requests a positive response to seeing the DC from time to time. So although they are unequal to other GDC and largely ignored and often gossiped about she feels an entitlement to know what is going on in their lives, wants access to them without acknowledging the campaign of bitchy behaviour towards us all over the years, our version of events conveniently erased of course.

I have not responded to the letter at all. grin
No acknowledgment of receipt or reply returned. Nor do I intend to.

You are right ignoring them is by far the most powerful response for such attention seekers.

Gobbolinothewitchscat Tue 29-Oct-13 14:25:20

It's actually really sad reading about others people's issues too. I always knew that MIL was a pain in the ass but we've managed to rub along pretty much ok until now. It's interesting - obviously she gets the rough end of it with her mother who she panders too etc. she's managed to pretty much sideline FIL's parents and he is estranged from two of his brothers. He's a total wet fish and does exactly what he's told so from the little I've gleaned from DH, it seems that MIL is really behind these issues.

I'm wondering if this situation is all about the fact that MIL is. Expecting me to take on her role in the family dynamic whilst she gets to take on that of her mother - I.e she gets to bully me whilst I need to take it lying down. Which I won't

To those of you with similar probs, have your DH's/DP's been absolutely 100 percent on your side so to speak and/or have they found it hard to stick up to MILs?

I forgot to mention but MIL is apparently sending DH a cheque fir some of the

brass Tue 29-Oct-13 14:39:32

shock

Gobbolinothewitchscat Tue 29-Oct-13 14:42:11

Sorry - last post cut off

Apparently MIL is sending us a cheque for some of the food costs etc. DH mentioned this in passing last night. I didn't ask why as I don't really care. The money is very much secondary

oscarwilde Tue 29-Oct-13 14:43:18

My MIL takes it upon herself to invite my BIL (favourite child) and his girlfriend to Sunday lunch at ours when she visits, without consultation. He doesn't ever reciprocate or ask her to visit but is still goldenballs and it is totally unacceptable that we would cook something that he wouldn't care to eat.... or rearrange our plans if he deigns to be available at the last minute.

My DH has been treated as the lessor child all his life and now lets it wash over him rather than make an issue out of it and deal with the histronics that would ensue. He agrees to change menus and delay lunch until BIL's invariably horribly late arrival. Hilariously, BIL has no compunction about upsetting her, in our house and then disappears home and leaves us to deal with the fall out about how he doesn't love her yada yada.

I'd happily do confrontation with both of them but DH doesn't want that. So, because my DH doesn't put his foot down, I now make it his problem to deal with the catering issues and have very loudly told him in front of his mother that BIL is not welcome at short notice, that we will not be altering mealtimes to mid afternoon (with two small DC) because BIL can't be arsed to get out of bed etc etc. You get the picture. I have made it completely clear that it is unacceptable behaviour and I won't stand for it again. MIL has now ceased to invite him and where invites are offered with our agreement, has taken to reminding BIL that his dinner will be in the microwave if he doesn't show up on time.

Amusingly, MIL is prone to bouts of self pity whereupon she claims she was emotionally abused as a child by her mother who clearly preferred her younger sister. Total lack of self awareness.

If your MIL is the person who drives invites to self promotional events, it is well within your control to respond copying everyone/key people in to say. "we'd love to come, but can we just establish budget/division of cost in advance" or "we'd love to come, but it's just not possible on this occasion as I will have a newborn. Happy to attend a lunchtime event at least 12 weeks after 1st Dec, but DH happy to attend on your actual birthday". A clear statement of intent with nothing open to interpretation is your friend here.

oscarwilde Tue 29-Oct-13 14:44:16

Because she now believes that it is all about the money, or that by sending it, she can now absolve herself of any further issues

Gobbolinothewitchscat Tue 29-Oct-13 14:50:12

oscar - think you are right. Your MIL sounds a peach grin

Sorry - rabbitting now. One thing I am worried about is that if I cut off from MIL, is that DH consciously or unconsciously will start pulling back from my parents - whom I'm really close to as they don't act like nutters

brass Tue 29-Oct-13 14:55:24

you've just described my MIL's relationship with her mother and her attitude towards me.

DH has never undermined me in front of them [thank god!!!]

Behind the scenes he has had moments of doubt and as Attila often says about FOG he has been brought up to believe that her behaviour is normal.

However 18 years is an awfully long time and he has seen my constant relationship with my family and female friends so can and does acknowledge that they are indeed odd. I have never demanded he do anything as I believe in standing up for myself. I have more recently said that I have reached my tolerance threshold and want nothing more to do with them. He has not challenged this, supporting my position by distancing them, not inviting them into the house when they've turned up on the doorstep etc. He is struggling with it though and this recent death is obviously difficult.

The pain comes from having to come to terms with the fact that his mother cannot (for the sake of her relationship with him) make an effort with his wife and children. She is so intent on her path that he is collateral damage. The person she is hurting most is him.

brass Tue 29-Oct-13 15:05:53

I should add DH is no pushover, he will quite happily tackle her especially when it comes to the DC. He is quite stubborn and belligerent in his own right!

I have never cowered to her though, always politely but very firmly standing my ground. It is this that she hates so much in me. She once said 'you're very confident aren't you?'

er yes got a problem with that? grin To my credit I've never raised my voice to her, sworn or done anything else she could use against me.

tobiasfunke Tue 29-Oct-13 15:37:21

MY DH is useless. He has spent 40 odd years basically trying not to engage with them, so he just switches off and lets their madness wash over him. However that means he is basically incapable of dealing with them now and has left me at their mercy. The net result is that I took most of the crap.
I hate to admit but he was right from the beginning. He always said ignore them because they are insane and nothing you can say or do will make them act like normal people it's a waste of breath. It's a bit difficult when they are not your parents but it is doable. My mantra became "Your mother's upsetting me. You deal with her". Turns out he got slightly more pissed off when I removed myself as the buffer between him and his parents.
The one thing not to do, and what I stupidly did for many years, was to turn myself into a martyr dealing with them and then moaning to DH. All he heard was me moaning and got pissed off with me.

They are his parents -making him deal with them on all fronts is your best bet. You have an excuse because you are busy being pregnant and then you will have a new baby.

oscarwilde Tue 29-Oct-13 15:39:01

My MIL is great in some ways but the BIL issue drives me into orbit. I trust her completely with my children's safety even if I don't always agree with her methods.
Brass's advice "never raise my voice etc, *or done anything else she could use against me" is great. Politely stand your ground and then have some fun being all smiley and happy when she clearly has the hump with you. Doesn't work on everyone but it certainly does on my MIL who clearly doesn't like confrontation either, moody bat !

gamerchick Tue 29-Oct-13 16:02:45

Man you're all so much more patient and considerate than I am. After a decent chunk of time putting up with the ex in laws I eventually screamed FFFFFUUUUUCCCKKKKKKK OOOOOFFFFFF down the phone and didn't speak to any of them again.

Worked pretty good.

I'm obviously not suggesting that mind.

Gobbolinothewitchscat Tue 29-Oct-13 16:33:08

I would love to scream "fuck off" at MIL and never see her again grin

I am trying to remain calm but keep having flashes of white hot rage.

Right, I think loan of action is:

1. Speak to DH

2. Ask him to deal with MIL from now on

3. Ignore any texts etc from MIL. Do not react. The only thing that is annoying me slightly re that is she will no doubt feel she's has had the last word re what happened.

tobiasfunke Tue 29-Oct-13 17:37:40

She will always have the last word and turn everything you say into the words of a mad hormonal DIL. Narcissists thrive on the drama. Ignoring them and feigning apathy pisses them off way more.

Absolutely tobiasfunke.

This you may also find helpful Gobbolinothewitchescat,

In the simplest of terms, there’s nothing toxic people like more than:

1. Getting their way, or;
2. Causing a fight.

Toxic people like to accuse, tantrum, manipulate and smear their way to either one of the above or the other. Their out-of-control emotions and self-centeredness make the blame game and the smear campaign two of their favorite tactics for keeping you engaged with them so they can feed off you.

Upset a toxic person, and they’ll be shooting infuriating drama-baits your way and just waiting for you to bite the hook. And they know just what to say to keep you tossing and turning at night, just trying to think of some way – any way – that you can stop them once and for all and make sure the truth about who you are prevails. But if you’re wise, you won’t bother.

Because the only way to win with a toxic person is not to play.

And until you accept that fact, you’re anybody’s sucker. All it will take is one bloated accusation, one lie, or one insinuation about you, and you’ll forever be the toxic person’s most treasured source of satisfying fun and games. If you don’t know how to leave the bait alone and find another, quieter, more indirect route back toward being left alone, you never will be.

Abusive people know that as long as they can set and keep their hooks in you, you are stuck being there for them to use and abuse – to feed on. When they want to, abusive people will say and do whatever it takes to keep you glued painfully to them and their world, because if you are stuck to them, they will always have you handy for whatever emotionally abusive purpose they want.

You may need to cut contact altogether if you are in an entrenched personal relationship, and if so, you may get hoovered and manipulated into staying connected. This is often easily done by deliberately upsetting you so much that the urge to call or contact them just to have your say will be intense, because the lies or other distortions being propagated are so hurtful. Don’t fall for it. Just ignore the whole thing, walk away and wipe your hands. There is no winning such battles. The greatest reward is freedom from the toxicity, which only comes with your non-involvement.

Of course, if there is a legal matter or similar to attend to, by all means, defend yourself appropriately. Non-communication isn’t the same thing as being a legal or occupational doormat. However, responding personally to the drama baits and the manipulations designed to tempt you into fighting back is a reward for toxic people, so wherever logistically possible, let the lies, accusations or other nastiness go completely unresponded to.

The sooner you do, the sooner it will start to become quiet, which, given certain toxic types, can take long enough without additional delays being thrown in. Don’t tell yourself you have to reply — learn to recognize your refusal to respond for what it really is — a sign that it will be over as quickly as possible because you knew how to ignore drama-baiting and send the toxic person looking for a better target.

So when you find yourself invited into an ugly tug-of-war with a toxic person, simply drop the rope immediately, walk away and LEAVE IT BE FOREVER. Because the simple fact of the matter is, toxic people can’t have a tug-of-war with you if there’s nobody holding on at the other end.

More Here: http://lightshouse.org/lights-blog/why-its-smart-to-let-toxic-people-have-the-last-word#ixzz2j8O7sGwN

ilovemyelectricblanket Tue 29-Oct-13 19:08:25

I went though this 3 years ago Christmas day.

I wont bore you with all the details (it is on here somewhere as I too came to Mumsnet for support) but my MIL IS narcissistic and my husband was totally institutionalised into seeing it as normal.

OP. I know that feeling of white hot dizzy sickness when faced again the gut wrenching shock of an attack from MIL.

She wont stop unless you detach yourself from the game.

You wont win this one or any others. And if you do win (you wont) but (if you did get apology or even at least a sense of her understanding her appalling behaviour) then you will still loose because it will cost you dearly.

OP my breast milk dried up from all the stress she put me under and I wasn't able to breast feed my baby. Im still coming to terms with that one...

3 years later - I still do not have an apology. I haven't seen them since.

Both my husband and I have needed counselling to find ways of coping as DH not able to cope with not facilitating MIL insane abusive behaviour.

I may not have seen them in 3 years but metaphorically they have been in our home, our bedroom, everywhere. The elephant in the room. The constant pressure to conform and the agony of watching my husband know that he cant put us (me and DCs) at risk like that again but he being estranged from all of his family hurts like hell.

Of course. MIL is the victim. Its SPECTACULAR how they twist the truth and isolate the victim.

For a while - my marriage was on the rocks.

The pressure on me to let her have her way and continue to abuse me and our DCs was immense.

Somehow - I have managed to stay strong and our marriage is back on track.

If I could do it all again - I would distance myself massively from inlaws.
I would only do what I was prepared to do. Never never stay in their house or in hotels. A cool distance that keeps them happy and keeps you and your family safe. Play the game but play it safely.

Im so sorry you are going through this. I would love to help. Do not text her again.

ilovemyelectricblanket Tue 29-Oct-13 19:10:29

* isolate the 'real' victim. *

brass Tue 29-Oct-13 19:24:57

the death of the relative obv brings home the enormity of what No Contact means. I have said to DH he needs to figure out what kind of contact for HIM will make life ok for the long term but that the DC and I will not be involved with them again and do not want anything about our lives divulged as she feeds off this like a locust.

the fact that she wrote the letter 2 days after the relative died just goes to show how fixated she is with trying to get a reaction. It makes it all the easier to ignore her.

Gobbolinothewitchscat Tue 29-Oct-13 21:07:24

Firstly - I just want bit say thank you to all of you for the really n fantastic advice you've give me. This is really MN at its best soppy emotion

Attila - your last post has really helped me tonight. I've been struggling with really wanting to text back but I am not going too electricblanket - you've described so well how I feel. V sorry to hear about your situation. [Sad]

I've spoken to DH tonight. It went pretty well although he did say that he told me not to text! Although we agreed on the text wording together

I've said to him that I'm not arguing about this. That MIL's behaviour is unacceptable and I am not responding to anymore texts or emails from her. I've also said that he needs to deal with her and I'm leaving it up to him how and when he does it. I've alluded to the November issue and said that needs to be discussed too. Finally, I said that I am not falling into the family dynamic of being bullied bybMIL just because her mother does that to her.

Going forward, I intend to basically manoeuvre MIL out by deeds not words. I won't let her visit after the new baby is born until I feel up to it. She is not coming to the hospital if I'm there as just don't feel,comfortable having her round when I'm so vulnerable. Thereafter, there will just never be a situation where the PIL's look after thevDCs. I will always make sure there are other baby sitters. I was planing to ask the PIL's if they wanted to go away with us next year. Won't be doing that now.

Essentially MIL will get the bare minimum now in terms of visits etc and no contact from me re DCs' progress - so no more photos etc. . I won't be facilitating or arranging anything for their benefit - will leave all of that up to DH

Without sounding too much like I'm about to let out a Witch's cackle, MIL has essentially played right into my hands by sending that horrible text as I now have the perfect excuse to avoid her as much as possible

Thumbfuckerwitch Tue 29-Oct-13 21:17:00

Just make sure you stick to it, Gobbolino! I am so glad your DH is on your "side" over it all though.

You were going to invite them on holiday with you??? What WERE you thinking??!!

Gobbolinothewitchscat Tue 29-Oct-13 21:35:33

thumb - I know grin

We go away with my parents so I was just trying to be fair.

Quick question - I feel more confident and less upset now that I have a plan. What do I do if MIL suddenly says she wants to discuss things? How can I refuse without looking unreasonable.

Thumbfuckerwitch Tue 29-Oct-13 21:36:58

Hand it over to DH. You're 7m pg and don't need the BP rise - DH can tell her that you're not too well and don't need ANY stress. smile
But she won't - and even if she suggests that, then all it will be is an excuse to berate you.

Cherriesarered Tue 29-Oct-13 21:53:58

After years of trying I have disengaged with my MIL. It is better all around. A polite visit where I avoid her as much as possible so that she can see the children is fine twice a year is sufficient. It's very sad and no doubt sounds harsh but I am only posting this because the OP's MIL sounds very similar and I have had years of these situations. The children are only important as things to photograph and show off about not as little people to be loved or looked after safely. As soon as the show is over, they get ignored.

TempusFuckit Tue 29-Oct-13 23:02:39

What a horrible thread. Talking about how you've outmanoeuvred your MIL, she's playing into your hands etc etc. And all the Internet diagnosis of toxic personalities on the basis of a few forum posts is laughable.

OP, she shouldn't have let your DS grab the coffee, and the bill splitting was unfair in hindsight. Neither was intentionally nasty, just thoughtless. You were, as you yourself admit, actually rude. I'd also like to know why you hadn't paid your fair share of the bill for the meal - discounted main courses notwithstanding - at the time.

Your own DM is right - do your best to preserve the relationship. Be more assertive about things which matter to you. Let things which don't slide. Politely refuse the 60th birthday and explain why. Don't turn this into WWIII.

Thumbfuckerwitch Tue 29-Oct-13 23:10:55

Ah just ignore the downplayers, Gobbolino (SEE, Yellow? Told you, din't I? thlgrin

Tempus I expect the meal in the hotel restaurant was added to the hotel bill - not that uncommon, tbh.

Gobbolinothewitchscat Tue 29-Oct-13 23:15:01

Yes - it was added to the bill. Perhaps I should have been there counting out our share in 1ps to pay immediately.

Anyway, I think I'll go with majority rules on this one. Thanks for the input though

Gobbolinothewitchscat Tue 29-Oct-13 23:16:31

Oh - and any rudeness by me has been more than superseded by her text. Really.

thepaintedladies Wed 30-Oct-13 02:43:42

Gobbo, I feel for you because I have a very similar situation that over the years has caused me a lot of grief. My DH is lovely, whilst his mum is a Narc, FIL her enabler/victim and SIL her enabler/victim/some narc tendencies inherited from MIL. I am in a good place at the moment. Here are my tips from experience.

1) Become self sufficient - My narc feeds off stripping others of their self esteem and self worth then steaming in to save the day e.g. telling people they are incompetent, stupid, don't do things properly. MIL does things to the line, but can't go over it with any finesse. The humiliation she has caused me over the years geared me to "I'll show you" and I have become an excellent cook, baker, I have a lovely house and I can alter any clothes. It's great to sit back and watch her squirm when FIL says "that was absolutely delicious painted". I also sell my cakes <grin> I also made sure that I read up, consulted professionals and had smart friends around me to run parenting issues by so I did not have to ask MIL's opinion. I can hand on heart say that I do not need MIL to help me out with anything. I would say this is her no.1 narcissistic need - the desire to be needed and save the day around incompetents. I totally cut off this source and she hates me for it. She controls her own daughters every breath.

2) Pay per view. MIL owes me politeness and courtesy. In return she gets to see her DGC. It's that simple. Every time she takes something from me (e.g. an insult), I take something back from her (e.g. make the next visit 3 months rather than 6 weeks).

3) Be 2 steps ahead of her. Next year is FIL's 70'th and SIL's 40th. I just know that we will be coerced into a trip away somewhere. I've been away with them before and they are holidays from hell. I will be booking a 2 week trip away a month before his 70th and a long weekend away just after her 40th. When asked, I will get all embarrassed and say we have already made plans and we will have to do something small plus all we got was a card on our 40th

4) Detach, disengage, indifference - I thought this would be hard for me but it is not. I used to make huge efforts on birthday's, Christmas etc. PIL and SIL have NEVER picked out a present for me. They give DH a tenner and say go buy something I like. I used to spend ages buying them really thoughtful stuff. I stopped 2 years ago. Now I send them M&S vouchers and put "buy yourself something nice". I also extract myself when there are fireworks and issues "well, I see you guys are arguing, I'll come back in the room when you have finished. I'll just leave you too it". They have never treated me like family, so I am now more than happy to be the outsider. I never tell them anything about me, my family and I never comment on the gossip they share.

5) If the hat fits, wear it. If your MIL thinks you are a bitch, difficult etc. then be it.

6) Because the only way to win with a toxic person is not to play. - YES. Attila's post is SPOT ON!!!In fact my 5 points are the result of listening to Attilla and others on this board thanks This was hard for me because I am of the "if someone hits you, smack them back twice as hard and they won't do it again". Have you seen Kiera Nightly in Pride and Prejudice? When someone says something rude, belittling to her she gives a concerned look, then thinks about it for 2 seconds, then laughs out loud. I DO THAT!!!!! MIL can't pull me up ohm my response whilst I have got across that I heard you and I am having a private giggle at your expense. Works for me!!

In summary, if you don't want to read the book above. I learned that being self sufficient and better than her at stuff cut off my MIL's supply of criticism of me. I also learned that treating her with indifference (which came easy to me) has greatly taken the wind out of her sails.

TempusFuckit Wed 30-Oct-13 07:51:50

Meh - I don't think a defensive text "supersedes" storming off in a huff and then accusing her over the coffee. You clearly can't stand her, that's plain from the way you describe her in the OP. And anyway, it's not a competition to see who can be the most rude.

Surely the priority should be resolving things? Your MIL is now doing this with the cheque - meanwhile you are cackling with glee at the prospect of manipulating her out of your family's life.

As for going with the majority, that's entirely up to you. But bear in mind that MILs are almost always demonised on MN - and usually diagnosed as either toxic or narc too, those being seemingly the only two options for MN armchair psychologists.

For what it's worth, my vaguely annoying MIL put a freshly made cup of tea within my DS's reach and he pulled it right over him, leading to several hours in A&E. After the initial shock, I put it down to forgetting what one-year-olds are like. I didn't try to cut her out. Two years on and my DS and his baby sister adore her.

I have seen many examples of decent and kind MILs on MN: they are not all demonised by any means.

It does not really matter whether they are inlaws or not; people who are prickly and or difficult are this way inclined anyway regardless of how old they are. On the subject of my own awful inlaws (I am very much the afterthought in that family) it is not my fault they are the way they are.

brass Wed 30-Oct-13 08:36:07

I haven't demonised my MIL. She is a very damaged individual who thrives on disharmony. She can create problems out of nothing and leave you feeling like you're stuck in a revolving door.

There is no reasoning, no common sense, no pragmatism, no sense of right or wrong and most importantly no trust.

Threads like this can help inform why someone constantly leaves you feeling a certain way. Sometimes it's difficult to articulate (even after 18 years.)

Gobbolinothewitchscat Wed 30-Oct-13 15:54:19

MIL has a long history of falling out/permanent estrangements in her family. I don't - thankfully

I've calmed down slightly but I need to read the rest of the book. DH is saying that I shouldn't have texted agreed as that inflamed the situation. OK but he seems to be kind of lumping us together!

Gobbolinothewitchscat Wed 30-Oct-13 20:11:24

Oh God - can I have a slap please. I've just had a huge barney with DH about this - despite all of your good advice.

He came home to advise that he had called his Dad and told him to tel MIL not to send aggresive texts tome again and he had told me not to text back

I got really cross because my point is that it was our decision not to respond to MIL. Not that I was champing at the bit too and had to be told not to by him. This led to a big row (instigated by me because actually I'm deflecting my MIL rage on him which isn't fair). I told him that basically MIL has to apologise and acknowledge our concerns before she can look after DS. DH then said - backed into a corner - that if I won't see his family, he won't see mine and that he feels caught in the middle and it's not fair that I'm putting it all on him to deal with.

I'm so cross as I have tried really hard not to argue with him re this as I don't want MIL to cause problems between us.

Also, per Attila's posts and the book, I know that he isn't suddenly going to turn round and say that yes, MIL is absolutely in the wrong as he loves her and he's used to her behaviour.

I feel really shit - I just can't work out why I can't feel calm and let this go. I felt better today and then later on I just feel total rage at the situation. I never want to see MIL again, but I'm going to have to put up with her and it's DS' birthday at the end if next month. We're having a little party for him and she's going to be there and it keeps making me cry because I feel so upset that I need to have her there but then shit and upset for DH and DS that there's all this bad feeling.

I actually feel quite worried that I feel so angry - I'm not like this and I can normally bite my tongue but I feel like I couldn't actually control myself (verbally) if I saw her and I really don't know how I'm going to be polite when I next see her and I do not want bad feeling at DS' birthday party.

I'm worried if this continues that it's actually going to cause problems with DH's relationship with my family.

clam Wed 30-Oct-13 20:22:20

Saying that you can't spend time with your family if you won't with his, is just playground tit-for-tat. You have reasons for stopping contact with mil, and there are no such issues with your dm.

Gobbolinothewitchscat Wed 30-Oct-13 20:31:39

clam - I think the issue now is that DH is now a few days have passed justifying and minimising what has happened

He's saying that MIL accepted on the phone to him the next day that she would need to be careful etc. however, that is not what she said to me in her text later that evening

I get the distinct impression that DH and FIL think this is just "girls being silly" and it will blow over - least said soonest mended type of thing. DH even said we were both on a "power trip" and he was caught in the middle.

The problem is that I'm raging and worried so I can't actually stand back and deal with this diplomatically with DH.

Thumbfuckerwitch Wed 30-Oct-13 21:27:10

Good Lord. Your DH is of course still caught up in his mother's usual games and has little chance of extricating himself, especially when his own father is facilitating as well.

You're right, it wasn't helpful to have the righteous indignation row at him but FGS, how old is he that he decided that he would retaliate by refusing to see your family? That's just pathetic, as they haven't done anything to merit that at all, and it could be seen as emotional blackmail to force you to see his dysfunctional lot.

As for the whole "apologise and we'll let her look after DS" - have you not been listening? An apology from her isn't worth a bar of soap! If she can be brought to do it (unlikely), it will be lip-service at best - she still thinks you're an over-precious neurotic and is unlikely to change her mind on that, apology or no! As I said, I wouldn't let her have sole care of him at all until she has visibly demonstrated that she WOULD take appropriate care of him.

Saying that she managed fine to bring up her own DC is neither here nor there, as well. I've had first hand experience of the way MIL's forget how very small children need so much watching - because the last time they had their own children to care for, they were much older! (I do get on fine with my MIL, by the way, I'm not axe-grinding here)

As for your DH and FIL's patronising "girls being silly" attitude - well. I don't know how you deal with that. If your DH has started minimising the risks to your DS then he's the one being silly. There are many instances in life where "let's just see what happens" is appropriate - care of a baby isn't, IMO, worth the risk of that.

Sorry, I'm going on a bit - I'm so cross on your behalf! But also concerned that you are still considering allowing her to take care of DS!

Thumbfuckerwitch Wed 30-Oct-13 21:28:06

Another thing - he has seen the text, hasn't he? So he does know she's saying one thing to him and another to you?

Gobbolinothewitchscat Wed 30-Oct-13 21:38:02

I've forwarded him the text. I don't know why I've got caught up in the apology thing. I think it's because I don't want her anywhere near us so it's a way to try and facilitate that happening - as she won't apologise

What is really worrying me is that DH is saying, oh similar things have happened before with your parents. That is totally'and completely untrue. I've asked DH to give examples of this and he can't, of course. But continues to assert that this is true. shock

So, now, I feel forced to let them look after DS as DH and I do not have a united front on this. So, if I refuse to let them, then DH is obviously going to have a serious problem with that.

And I really don't know how I'm going to be civil to MIL

Gobbolinothewitchscat Wed 30-Oct-13 21:39:09

The problem is that we can't actually talk about this rationally as DH seems to be in total denial

Thumbfuckerwitch Thu 31-Oct-13 03:28:58

AGH!! You can't play Russian roulette with your DS's safety, SURELY your DH can understand that? He's really been wound up by his father hasn't he. They've got him good and proper - undermined any support he might have felt for you by telling him how silly you are, so he would look silly as well if he supported you.

Just find excuses if he won't back you up. Tell him you've already rearranged the care.

I'll tell again the story of how my DH went against my cautionary wishes and nearly allowed DS1 to drown, as well as his own mother. I said I wasn't happy about Ds1 going swimming in the lake as he couldn't swim at all, wasn't happy in the water (i.e. would panic if he went under), and it's a LAKE so has very uneven bottom, waves, sea urchins, razor clams etc. etc.
I was told I was silly, paranoid, MIL had brought 2 boys up and they hadn't died, blah blah blah.
So they were all over there without me, DH fishing off the jetty, MIL decides to take DS1 into the lake. She, of course, loses her footing and goes under - she's holding DS up so he's not under but she can't regain her footing without letting go of him, so if it had gone on much longer she would have drowned and so would he. DH stops baiting his hook, looks around and sees that they're in trouble, flings himself and the fishing rod into the lake as he jumps in to save them both.

He didn't tell me this. I overheard him explaining to his boss why he needed a new blackberry. I was so angry I couldn't even breathe, let alone shout. Guess what though - MIL hasn't taken Ds1 swimming in the lake again, without a floatation jacket on. Remember too - I actually get on pretty well with my MIL, they just thought I was being over-cautious. Nope.

What Thumbfuckerwitch wrote earlier in her posts.

These people do not apologise EVER nor accept any responsibility for their actions. Note all the texts; the woman cannot even be asked to call you directly. That also shows how little she thinks of you. You're the afterthought and not regarded as one of their family.

Do not have them look after your DS in any shape or form!!!!. If you were to continue to do this, that decision could well come back to haunt you.

These people simply do not make for being good grandparents.

I would have nothing more to do with his mother; if he wants to see her then he can go himself. His tit for tat re your family is just that; he has not got a leg to stand on really. And he is very much in FOG re his dysfunctional mother. After all she has caused all this to arise in the first place due to her innate desires to put herself first and foremost in everything no matter at what cost to others.

Gobbo unfortunately (understatement) you are dealing with a narcissistic MIL; her behaviours are highly indicative of narcissism and if she is indeed a narcissist (btw you will have to make a judgment call on that as such people are rarely if ever clinically assessed) it is not possible to have any sort of relationship with her (and by turn her enabler of a H).

Gobbothewitchescat,

I have posted a link below that may help:-

ww.lightshouse.org/all-about-narcissists.html#axzz2jHUMVWF2

tobiasfunke Thu 31-Oct-13 08:45:18

What thumbfucker witch said.
She won't apologise because she sees nothing to apologise for.
I do think you need to try and let this go because you are working yourself up into a state about it. I know I've done the same and usually because my DH just minimizes the problem. You need to forget about her for the moment if you can. Ignore the drama.

thepaintedladies Thu 31-Oct-13 08:45:23

The main difficulty that I had with my NIL was the total clash of family culture that I married into. My own family are a very positive bunch who all openly tell each other how bloody marvellous they are. When I met my in-laws I was pretty shocked to hear MIL telling DH and his DSis that they are stupid, can't do anything, will never get anywhere in life and they just took it with their heads bowed. FIL was crushed under heel years ago and is just a shell of a man. The only time he comes alive is if you stand up to MIL and then he gets threatening. For many years MIL tried to crush me under her heel with her regular criticisms, belittling and her party piece of kicking you when you are down. I took it very personally and overcompensated with extravagant gifts which she just threw back in my face and trying to make her like me.

I think it was this board that opened my eyes to the fact that she is a N. The other consolation I have is that I no longer take it personally. Whatever she has done to me is small change compared to the misery she has inflicted on her own immediate family. Interesting to note that her own family treat her like this and have massive N tendencies themselves. She has ravaged her own DD's self esteem and this poor woman has no ego, no self confidence at all and is truly miserable. She will openly tell her that the reason she is not married is because she is too fat, not pretty enough, stupid - who would have the esteem to have a boyfriend after that? NIL nearly drove me to this, but in the end I arose out of the ashes like a phoenix. NIL still tries to put me down but fails because I now give it back and despite being a narc, she's not quick witted. My own family and friends tell me I'm great so why should I believe criticism from someone who is uneducated, unattractive, uninteresting and lacks humour. In fact, if she liked me I'd be worried.

Here's a classic example that actually happened a while back. My DH made a fry up for breakfast at our house. MIL got out of bed the wrong side. When he put the food in the middle she said, I'm not eating that, the eggs are not cooked properly, the toast is burn't, it's pathetic. FIL, SIL you are not eating that, don't touch it and she leant over and pushed the plate away so hard the food came off it. FIL/SIL didn't move an inch. DH looked mortified, I thought he was going to cry. I got up and got a loaf of bread and some margarine and plonked it in front of her and said, help yourself to toast. I then dished out DH's cooking to me and our 2 kids. We all sat their and said, mmmm Daddy this is lovely, thanks for making it and wolfed it down. Afterwards DH came and told me he thought she was a nasty cow. That is classic of her. I won't apologise for calling my MIL a Narc because she is and I say this as an observer of her treatment of others, not myself.

woollytights Thu 31-Oct-13 09:39:40

The title of your thread asks for perspective, and although this isn't what you want to hear, I'm going to try and give you that.

I think you have had some pretty awful advice on this thread. A lot of presumptions have been made about your MIL and you've been pushed towards taking the most extreme possible action and cutting her out of your life, and encouraging your DH to do the same. I would fully support anyone cutting off a family member if it became impossible to sustain a healthy relationship with them. However, I think in this instance, you just find her very annoying.

I agree with the poster who you dismissed earlier on, who said that it's clear from the way you describe her that you just don't like her. In terms of things she has actually done wrong factually, these include not handing you your son back when you asked, however handing him to her son who presumably you were happy to have him. Taking responsibility for arranging the seating in a way you didn't like, which you objected to and did your own thing. Deciding the bill would be split without consulting you, a decision she seemed to be put on the spot to make and nobody else was around. She has since but this right by forwarding you a cheque I understand. And holding your son whilst he picked up the knife and spilt the cold tea, by anyone's admission, an accident.

I realise you feel inclined to go with the majority decision, however I strongly urge you to reconsider your approach and see the situation for what it is. I totally get that she's irritating and does your head in. But from what you've explained to us, which is pretty damning, I am still not somehow getting this same picture as everyone else of a nasty narc cow who needs to be centre of attention and loves playing mind games with her family.

My suggestion is to ask yourself what you think she should have legitimately done since the event to put this right. You have complained she texted you rather than your DH which actually strikes me as the fairer approach, yes the problem is with you, since you are the person who has become offended and upset. You have complained that when confronted about the money she sent your share back to you. You have complained that she didn't ask how your son was when you told her he had a cold - you'd already said, he had a cold...

By all means live your own life and make your own choices regarding babysitting, which birthday celebrations you attend etc. I am sorry to say though she sounds pretty harmless really and I think trying to encourage your DH to cut her off will be unsuccessful if not a really terrible mistake.

Holdthepage Thu 31-Oct-13 09:42:50

OP when you started this thread you asked for some perspective, you actually said you got on ok with your in laws. A disappointing weekend and some thoughtless behaviour on your MIL's part have now turned into WW3. You are openly trying to stop all contact with her over a spilt cup of lukewarm coffee that did not cause any harm to your child.

Your DH is now defending his parents and the whole thing is escalating beyond belief. The amateur psychologists are out in force applying labels to people they have never met. Before long your DH will be diagnosed as EA & you will be being urged to leave him. Listen to your own DM who has asked you to try and get along with your MIL.

If it had been your mother that had spilt the coffee would you have reacted in the same way?

OPs DM's advice would work if OP was actually dealing with someone who was emotionally reasonable to start with; MIL is clearly not and has also managed to isolate her own self from other family members.

This is at heart about power and control.

I do not have to actually see a person to work out whether they are behaving reasonably or not; if the initial post was read properly you would see that MIL has been front and centre throughout that gathering and made it all really about her. She created the drama and feeds off it.
It is very difficult for people who thankfully are not on the receiving end of such behaviour to perhaps dismiss it as a mere spat which will blow over in time. It will not, besides which MIL has not apologised for her actions nor taken any responsibility for same.

woollytights Thu 31-Oct-13 10:02:26

Holdthepage you are absolutely spot on.

OP, if you decide to try and turn this around and have a go at getting it sorted out between you all, I'm certain that things will be much, much better for you going forward. You are surrounded by a loving family with good intentions, embrace it. Myself personally, and others I'm sure, will offer advice and support to do so if you want it.

thepaintedladies Thu 31-Oct-13 10:32:56

I don't think that the OP should go no contact with her MIL. I still speak to mine and see her. However, if MIL causes the OP a lot of misery then she needs to do something about it. The only thing that I think that the OP should do is learn to say NO! without guilt.

perfectstorm Thu 31-Oct-13 10:34:27

I do not have to actually see a person to work out whether they are behaving reasonably or not

Sorry, but no mental health professional of any real experience or training would dream of saying that. In fact in the absence of abuse no decent professional would be telling someone they treat what to do at all. What makes you better equipped to counsel than a chartered psychologist, for example?

This MIL sounds a complete pain, no question. But I hesitate to label an immature PITA as toxic. I do know rather too many toxic people, and being annoying is not their primary fault. I'm not opposed to going NC where justified, and have in fact implemented that with some of my own relatives, but IMO it should take a higher threshold than the situation described here. It should be a last resort, not a go-to solution, where close relatives are concerned.

In the OP's shoes I'd reduce contact between herself and MIL as the latter sounds self-absorbed and high-handed, and in late pregnancy and with a baby nobody needs the stress OP is describing. But let DH handle contact between the kids and gm for now. Longer-term, I think setting clear boundaries and keeping to them is a wiser route than creating a huge family rift, and I would suggest the OP talks all this through with her mum, who is loving and supportive and does actually know all the players personally.

I think the OP has grounds to be very upset, and her DH needs to step up more. But I also think suggesting this gc be removed from her gc's lives is drastic overkill on the evidence provided here. It's a hammer for a nut.

perfectstorm Thu 31-Oct-13 10:35:04

I agree, thepaintedladies.

EldritchCleavage Thu 31-Oct-13 10:48:17

I don't think you need to go completely no contact with your MIL. But I do think you need to give yourself permission to be assertive, and frank, in the moment, with her, FIL and anyone else. Not afterwards, with your DH.

I am not advocating rudeness, by any means. But once you have freed yourself to say 'No', firmly and politely, whether about your DS, photos, restaurant bills and anything else, I wonder if you would find that the MIL problem receded significantly. The key is not to allow yourself to be put upon and then brood, but to decide not to be put upon in the first place, with a shrug if MIL doesn't like it, picking your battles so the petty stuff goes by and the stuff you can't live with is dealt with immediately it arises (whatever the gathering).

Doing this would also mean you would have to put up with a certain amount of lip-pursing, because generally younger women have the least status in extended families and are expected to toe any number of lines. But as long as you are polite and reasonably friendly, the chances are people will adjust to the fact you can't be corralled into stuff you don't want to do.

My late MIL (who was, in a reversal of the usual situation, nice to me and mean to DH) had both silently summed each other up. We both knew we were capable of serious arseyness, and mutually decided not to let it come to that. If your MIL senses you won't take any shit but provided she doesn't give you any, relations will be civilised, she may just stop being so overbearing. No guarantees, but it must be worth a try.

thepaintedladies Thu 31-Oct-13 11:46:54

I could have written that Eldritch. You are spot on.

OP, you do actually own some of this problem. You have gotten all worked up about a situation that you walked into passively. I've done the same in the past so I am not blaming you. You need to not put yourself in the position in the first place. Don't go on holiday with them, don't go for expensive meals out and don't go away for the weekend. That way you are taking away 90% of the stress.

because generally younger women have the least status in extended families and are expected to toe any number of lines.
I don't really agree with that though TBH. This is modern day Britain, not some remote village in a 3rd world country. My MIL is my equal, not my superior. She needs to respect me to get some back.

It is clear to me that this MIL has acted completely unreasonably from the very beginning. I can only go by what the OP has posted but don't have to actually see this MIL in action to work that out; MILs actions in her initial post are pushy and assertive at the very least.

You would not tolerate any of this from a friend, why should family members be treated any differently?.

Setting boundaries certainly needs to be done and these should be a lot higher than they are currently. I feel very sorry for the OP for being placed in such a position in the first place but her MIL put her there by her actions. OP needs to be with family members who benefit her family, not those who want to be front and centre all the time and who make it all about them.

youretoastmildred Thu 31-Oct-13 12:14:53

AttilatheMeercat, I can see that the MIL in this OP was unreasonable and annoying. I am curious - having read many of your posts over the years - about exactly when an annoying person becomes a toxic person. And how one can be so sure.

I am also curious about when inconsiderate or thoughtless or selfish becomes EA.

Because - surely we are all in various relationships with people who are a bit of all of these. But they aren't all toxic.

One of the things I think is very dangerous (this is a totally non-expert opinion but my position from experience) is that for me, intention is not a necessary condition for a person to be intolerably abusive. But we often see this on here "Oh yes, he knows he is doing it, it is a deliberate modus operandi".

- but I have been in an EA relationship which destroyed my confidence and I am sure that the man did not remotely see things in those terms - was not doing it deliberately - was an extremely fucked up individual who is his own terms was fighting for a sort of survival, through control and domination and belittlement;

But if the person does not know they are doing it where do you draw the line, because we all behave badly sometimes?

And how can you know on the internet?

Holdthepage Thu 31-Oct-13 13:36:58

And how can you know that on the Internet?

Well clearly you can't but that doesn't stop the keyboard psychoanalysis along with links to dubious psychobabble websites. I find some of the posts egging on the break up of family relationships with no professional insight or any real knowledge of the people involved quite disturbing.

I think a lot of people do not really (and fortunately for them) understand what a narcissistic person can unleash in terms of damage within a family unit.

The only one here at fault is the OPs MIL. What could the OP have done differently initially (apart from herself raise boundaries but she had no idea or inclination that it was all going to go pear shaped in the ways that it did). It is usually after such family gatherings that problems that were always there but more hidden come to the forefront.

OP has also gone with the majority view and as an adult she is fully capable of making up her own mind. She can use or disregard information as she sees fit.

youretoastmildred Thu 31-Oct-13 13:53:10

Sorry I know it is probably bad form to hijack, but after seeing many such posts from you over the years, Atilla, I would be really interested to know the answers to my questions in principle (as opposed to what this OP should do, which of course she is uniquely well placed to decide)

youretoastmildred Thu 31-Oct-13 13:54:20

I would also be interested to know if you have professional qualifications?
I think this is a very interesting area

woollytights Thu 31-Oct-13 18:16:14

OK then, what specifically has the OP's MIL done in this instance to warrant being labelled a nasty toxic narcissist?

perfectstorm Thu 31-Oct-13 19:18:33

I think a lot of people do not really (and fortunately for them) understand what a narcissistic person can unleash in terms of damage within a family unit.

Do you have a close relative who has been clinically diagnosed with a personality disorder? I do. I therefore know how high the clinical threshold is (traits are not enough to count as having a disorder as most are at an adaptive level, ie just problematic personality traits) and I also know that most psychologists say that two practitioners often equals two different diagnoses, and that several interviews with the person themselves plus psychometric testing done via some reputable inventory (Million Multiaxial, etc) is required before any diagnosis can be made at all. You can't do it online, let alone from fragmentary third party info like this. So please don't say people who disagree with you just have no experience. In my case it's my very real experience that is leading me to the very definite conclusion that none of us are able to diagnose the MIL with anything whatsoever and that actually, her behaviour is firmly in the realms of PITA normality. She may behave far worse in the future, she may have done things in the past, she may be a flying teapot called Erica. None of us know. And I don't think it helps the OP to catastrophise a perfectly normal, perfectly problematic relationship when her children, her DH and her marriage may be very badly hurt as a result.

Yes, her MIL is over the line and I've said so. Yes, the OP needs to set boundaries once her baby is born and a bit older and she has the strength, and meanwhile it's her DH's job to face up to his mother's idiocy and protect her from it - she's his pregnant wife caring for his baby and that's his job. But you do not help her by projecting a vague reading on very serious psychological and psychiatric conditions when we none of us know they're present. These conditions are actually quite rare, whereas difficult people are common. Someone can be a drama queen without being histrionic, selfish without being narcissistic, and clingy and hostile by turns without being borderline. Scaring the OP by diagnosing her MIL without the least qualification or exposure doesn't help her, IMO, unless it gives her the strength to set boundaries and create a more positive relationship. On the evidence of her posts, it's actually upsetting her greatly and turning a family row into a huge schism. That isn't support as I recognise it.

OP I think Eldritch's advice is excellent and the suggestions on how to manage a very difficult relationship really good, but please remember that MIL isn't a demon, and she has from all you say shown good sides as well. She's also your DH's mother, whom he loves, and his hurt over all this will be real. If you don't believe the woman is mentally ill, then please think of ways you can minimise your own exposure while supporting her relationships with your DH and your babies. It works with my own difficult but non-toxic MIL. Good luck, and I'm sorry you are dealing with this mess when heavily pregnant and feeling so vulnerable. flowers

DistanceCall Thu 31-Oct-13 20:07:42

Look. You did the right thing in replying to that text - you were polite and answered her question in civilised terms. She could have apologised or at least asked you out for coffee so you could clear things up or something like that.

Instead, she hit back. And, as you said, gave you a reason to stay away from them.

This situation is hard for your husband (I know, because my father was/is in a similar situation with respect to his own mother). Avoid confronting him or putting him up against the wall. And please, don't be angry - it serves no purpose, and, as you did, you will deflect it onto your husband.

These people have nothing to do with you. Unfortunately, they are related to your husband. So I think you should support your husband from the rear, but refuse to engage with them directly.

As for the row, I'm sure it will blow over. If your husband insists on not seeing your family because you refuse to see his, remind him of the difference in the way in which they behave.

TheFabulousIdiot Thu 31-Oct-13 21:35:25

Why will she be looking after him in three weeks? Is it something you can get out of?

thepaintedladies Thu 31-Oct-13 23:56:18

After re-reading your thread, I have to say that I do not think your MIL is a narcissist. To me she sounds like most MIL's their generation (is she 60-70?) where they like to be the centre of attention, a right bossy boots, like to show off, don't have a lot to do with their own PIL, think they should be respected and cherished no matter what and have a bit of a face (expectation of attention, priority etc.) thing going on. They do think DIL's should tow the line, because they had to with their MIL's but as mentioned in my last post, we modern day British women are a totally different animal to them and our DIL's will put up with zero crap from us when we are older.

I also think that when you are 7 months pregnant, things get really tense and hormones exaggerate things. I remember having a massive go at someone in a queue at Tescos at 7 months. I thought I was going to punch the woman.

My son has gotten into a few tricky situations with my MIL, but generally she takes good care of her DGC. I avoid tricky situations so I know he is a bit safer. I think this situation has been blown out of proportion a bit TBH. I genuinely think Atilla has some good advice for people and some of the situations on this board are very very serious and living with a narc is a living nightmare. However, I think your MIL is a pain in the butt, nothing more really. She needs managing. One thing I would start and do is to not agree to anything without getting something out of it yourself. For example, if they want you to go to X hotel for the weekend and for a meal say well, its too much money, we will just come over on Sunday at 2pm for the meal. As I mentioned above, you own some of this problem. Half the issues I have had with my MIL were due to the fact that I couldn't say no and then seethed afterwards and in the end I ended up in a real state. You need to learn to compromise, say no politely and stick by your guns. A classic of my PIL is that they expect us to do what they want so e.g. if we go into town they expect us to follow them round the shops they want. I'll say at the beginning, so where do you want to go to? OK, well we are going here, we will meet you back here in 2 hours OK? My MIL did actually admit to me that I am the most assertive person she has ever met, which is a real compliment as I actually do think I am quite a pushover.

ilovemyelectricblanket Fri 01-Nov-13 18:02:41

You only have this change to let this one go OP.

You have learned much and had your eyes opened.

You now know what you are up against and its not good.

Whatever she is - she a pain and she knows how to press your buttons.

If you keep this up then your relationship with your husband will seriously suffer and you don't want that.
You are now in a much better position to keep yourself and your family safe from this woman.

YOU CAN DO THIS.

If you end up in another position where you are vulnerable (and I am really worried about the birth of your 2nd child) - then you have to re consider.

While you are regrouping and getting some better strategies in place - get some couples counselling with DP - because you both need to be on the same page.

He needs to understand that he has been conditioned/blackmailed to behave the way she wants and that means YOU and your DCs will suffer.

This isn't acceptable.

Please.

Let this one go on the basis you will never put yourself in a similar position again.

ilovemyelectricblanket Fri 01-Nov-13 18:06:25

chance not change.

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