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MIL always has to move the goal posts

(45 Posts)
EdgeofGlory Wed 10-Oct-12 17:03:25

MIL.........massive control freak, always takes a mile when given a good inch.

We don't have a close relationship because of her behaviour and the pressure it puts on our already fragile marriage. We've hired a cottage for a long weekend and invited them over for a 'night or two'. She's replied telling me they'll be there for 3 nights ie the majority of our weekend.

Why does she do this every time and think it's totally acceptable? We have invited them for Xmas this year (offered the invite months ago to avoid the usual pressure pressure pressure) but I KNOW they'll back my husband into a corner about coming Xmas eve instead of the Xmas day invite.

Feeling really fed up and wishing I'd kept my big mouth shut, I was only trying to be kind sad

DoIDare Wed 10-Oct-12 17:04:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

QuintessentialShadows Wed 10-Oct-12 17:05:22

Dont try to be kind! Not with people like this.

FannyFifer Wed 10-Oct-12 17:05:28

Just stop inviting them, you only have yourself to blame really.

Katisha Wed 10-Oct-12 17:06:41

Why invite them at all? I wouldn't expect mil to be present at a long weekend or holiday of any sort.

ginmakesitallok Wed 10-Oct-12 17:07:10

Why on earth did you invite her to the cottage?? And why invite them for Christmas??

NatashaBee Wed 10-Oct-12 17:07:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Merrin Wed 10-Oct-12 17:08:25


EdgeofGlory Wed 10-Oct-12 17:09:15

Fannyfifer they are the grandparents, I can't deny them seeing their grandchildren. We live 300miles apart so 'popping in on a Sunday' is not an option.

DoIDare I got an email to say when arriving but not when leaving......that's how I know it's for the duration

BackforGood Wed 10-Oct-12 17:09:25

to be fair, I don't have too bad a relationship with my MiL, but there is NO WAY I would ask them to come and stay for a couple of nights if we were going away for a long weekend. Whatever possessed you? You say she has history of taking more than she's offered, so why did you offer in the first place ? confused

WhenShallWeThreeMeetAgain Wed 10-Oct-12 17:10:01

One night would be enough, surely?

BackforGood Wed 10-Oct-12 17:10:37

x post.
HAving a family weekend is not the same thing as 'denying them seeing their Grandchildren' though, is it ?

EdgeofGlory Wed 10-Oct-12 17:13:21

They've been saying they wanted to see us so I stupidly figured it was an easier way to do it and save us the 300mile drive to theirs.

I know I've only got myself to blame and I should have learnt by now, just letting off steam on here.

Guessing there is no point asking my H to ring and 'clarify' the 2 nights now...

TheProvincialLady Wed 10-Oct-12 17:13:48

I don't understand why you would invite your MIL, who is prone to boundary crossing and bizarre behaviour and with whom you don't have a close relationship, to a long weekend in a cottage. You say you have a fragile marriage and MIL affects that. You also offered her 'a night or two' yet knowing that she takes a mile when offered an inch.

If you think through your motovations for doing it, you will probably be quite surprised. It doesn't make sense does it? Do you crave her approval? Do you want to sabotage your weekend/marriage? Do you like drama? Do you enjoy being in the right and MIL in the wrong? Are you scared of her?

EdgeofGlory Wed 10-Oct-12 17:19:08

Provincial I invited her because a)we have to see them at some point and it always involves an overnighter due to the distance. A night or 2 is just that, not 3 at any point.

I would happily have no contact but I have a duty as a wife to support my husband and make it as easy as possible for him in what is generally a stressful situation. We can't just stop contact.

It's not about approval or drama at all, it's about being aware that there has to be a relationship there for the grandchildren and my husband so trying to maintain it as best we can.

Why not email her and say (all innocent-like)

"It will be great to see you for Mon and Tues (substitute whatever days are appropriate). What time on Tues are you going, X & Y are coming over for a visit - as the place is small they don't want to overlap and for it to be too crowded for you?"

(make sure X & Y are friends of yours that she doesn't know/can't contact)

Then after the hol just say "Oh X got a bug at the last minute and they couldn't come, they texted me after you left"

brass Wed 10-Oct-12 17:24:08

nevermind you'll know not to include them again in the future.

we have included ILs every xmas for close to 20 years. I asked them last year to arrive after a certain time. Of course she had to 'pop' in earlier to drop stuff off (none of it vital) even though they weren't expected til much later.

these people see boundaries as a challenge and a sport.

this year we will be abroad and they don't know a thing about it.

QuintessentialShadows Wed 10-Oct-12 17:25:18

Then tell her it is great they are leaving the same day as you, as you appreciate another pair of hands looking after the kids and tidying up after everyone!

But in future, you have no duty to your husband in his access to his parents. He can go and see them on his own, he can take the kids with him if he wants to.
It is patronizing to him to assume he cannot arrange visits with his parents without you.

Can they not come down and see you? Must it be you going to see them?

Pinkforever Wed 10-Oct-12 17:25:58

Where does your dh figure in all of this op? Sounds suspiciously like you know he would choose them over you...

TheProvincialLady Wed 10-Oct-12 17:27:46

Well next time you'll know to invite her for the last night only, exact time specified!

mummymeister Wed 10-Oct-12 17:31:36

you have to stop trying hard to either make her like you or make her become reasonable. whatever you do she wont change so you have to set the boundaries to fit in with you. its tough, its horrible but believe me the sooner you do it the better. dont let DH deal with it, its your arrangement. ring her up now and say you are welcome day 1 and day 2 but we want time to ourselves so please could you go home on this day to give us some space. if she dithers or you arent sure then say dont come at all. as for christmas stop asking her. make this the last year and be done with it. Brass is right she is seeing a boundary as something to be moved and each time she does it she feels she has won and you end up feeling you have lost. so the answer is if everytime you stab yourself in the finger it hurts stop stabbing yourself in the finger! do it now whilst you have all of MN behind you.

Dinglebert Wed 10-Oct-12 17:36:05

I know it's hard OP, but I think you need to start setting some boundries and pushing back. She won't like it, and will kick back against it, but you have to hold your nerve. She is abusing your kindness and conscience.

If you can't do it for you - do it for your children. I'm sure the tension of mum having an unwanted grandmother interfering must be noticeable.

I think you have to be strong and it will pay off.

jaffacakehips Wed 10-Oct-12 17:41:33

I agree with OnTheBottom Firm but fair OP.

I invited MIL & OH last x-mas, asked if they wanted to come for x- mas day and stay the night. They come for 4 bloody days..and they only live 30 miles away shock She didn't help or interact with DD at all and drank all my wine, then complained when it was finished. hmm

By day 4 I had to ask DH to tell them to leave blush Won't be making that mistake again!

Inertia Wed 10-Oct-12 17:42:33

"Hi MIL, sorry but all three nights doesn't work for us due to the other plans we have made. Shall I put you down for just the Sunday daytime and Sunday night? While we are there we can discuss what time you'll be coming over on Christmas Day . Look forward to seeing you this Sunday, any time from 11am is fine. Lots of love, Edge".

Then don't answer the door on the Friday night if they turn up...

WhereYouLeftIt Wed 10-Oct-12 18:03:06

"MIL.........massive control freak, always takes a mile when given a good inch."
Then don't give her an inch.

"We've hired a cottage for a long weekend and invited them over for a 'night or two'. She's replied telling me they'll be there for 3 nights ie the majority of our weekend."
Respond "It would seem you have misunderstood. The invitation was for one or two nights. If you feel unable to come for less than three we will understand that you cannot come at all and will see you on our return."

"We have invited them for Xmas this year ... but I KNOW they'll back my husband into a corner about coming Xmas eve instead of the Xmas day invite."
Again, do not give an inch. Pre-emptive strike, "What time on Christmas Day will you arrive? I would suggest we'll be ready for visitors at X o'clock".

You seem to feel you HAVE to see them. Says who? Under what law is it required? Remember that you are the gatekeeper to their grandchildren. They play nice, or the gateway narrows. Do not allow her control. It belongs to you.

Blunt works best with overbearing types. They bludgeon polite suggestion underfoot.

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