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Dealing with awful passive aggressive MIL

(180 Posts)
YummyMummybee Thu 21-Nov-13 13:57:46

Basically to cut a long story short, DH & I have been married for 3 years & I have had ferocious issues with MIL.... She treats me completely differently to my 2 SIL's, she treats them with respect, talks highly of them &whenever I call over always happens to say they call these days, were over for dinner etc however I am never invited.

Dh has 3 brothers & my dd was the first girl in the family for over 100 years,rather than being doted on by grandma she keeps making the point she never wanted a girl, only wanted one to "dress up", all men want a son much more than a woman wants a daughter etc etc.... Its ridiculous & petty plus we were delighted to have a healthy child we didn't care about gender & we worship our little princess who is named after my mom & my grandmother which did not go down too well....

She wore a white maxi dress & hat to my wedding...

Tries to pick an arguement with me when ever she can..

Hates my mom coming up to spend time with my daughter & hates me going home to my moms

Dh has tried to speak to his father about it but the bottom line was I was being oversensitive.... Dh knows I'm right though so no point in going down that route again..

I feel the only way to cope is to avoid her & not leave her know whats going on in our lives... We only live 10 mins away. I used to really try & make the effort but it seemed the more I tried the more power she felt she had & would use it to belittle me & make me feel incompetent... So now I feel the less she sees of us as a family the better...

Also I am expecting dd2 & after dd1 was born & named after my mom we told MIL dd2 if she ever arrived would be named after her.... We have now decided to use 2 names we both love & not use her name at all even for middle name, I have to take a stand & I'm no longer accepting being treated like an outsider & an imbicile... Any advice would be greatly appreciated...

YummyMummybee Thu 21-Nov-13 20:39:39

Oh god fluffyraggies, I can totally relate. Yes she totally treats other SIL's better than me & my little DD. She would buy other grandchildren pressies-3 granddaughters arrived after mine but they get treated differently as they have brothers, the mind boggles.... She buys these granddaughters clothes & dolls but stresses mine "has enough"...

My Dh is the 2nd of 4 boys, he's a great son & very close to his dad who btw is a wonderful man...

I think she sees me as a bit of a pushover as while I was on my mat leave I really tried to be included in what was going on, calling for dinner, making an effort to call for my dd's sake so she could be part of her growing up. Any time the other granddaughters were there she would insist on playing with them, cuddling them while blatently refusing to engage with my gorgeous dd. It broke me & DHs heart. The straw that broke the camels back was when we got christening photos printed for them & she refused to look at them as my SIL was there & MIL said she "didn't want to make a big deal of the photos" in front of SIL & would "have a look" that night.....

Since then I have just completely limited all contact with her, so has DH, Dh communicates with his dad every day & I think that drives her mad!

Re the name, we never liked it to begin with but we told her we would use it to placate her as she threw her toys out of the pram when we called DD1 after my mom & my grandmother... I think if we are going to make a stand & have our own power we should just pick names we love & not be railroaded by "tradition". She is also harping on that if this baba is a boy it will need to be named after FIL due to tradition, the other SIL's were never given that instruction!!! As said above noone knows we are having a girl except me & dh.

Oh & she threw a strop that we only told her I was pg when I was 12 weeks & had my scan, she said other SILs came to her at the very start & was disgusted not to be one of the first to know. She asked when I told my mother, I said " God pregnancy brain, I can't remember"... Btw I'm 33 & this treatment is insane!!!

YummyMummybee Thu 21-Nov-13 21:45:53

Anyone else any advice?x

Mymumsfurcoat Thu 21-Nov-13 21:56:03

She does know that its men who determine the sex of babies? Tbh, I'd remind her every time she made some crack about your DDs.

YummyMummybee Thu 21-Nov-13 22:02:25

Ha! My friend was here earlier & she said next time MIL snidely says "I never wanted a girl, I was so lucky to have 4 boys" I should reply earnestly " You know what I 100% believe you, I couldn't picture you with a daughter, you're much more suited to boys" & see how she likes that, after all I am agreeing with her!

kotinka Thu 21-Nov-13 22:06:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

YummyMummybee Thu 21-Nov-13 22:14:11

Well Kontina, I think so too! I am agreeing with her wholeheartedly & she can read between the lines!

FunnyRunner Thu 21-Nov-13 22:15:44

She sounds absolutely vile. Definitely give her a wide berth especially as your DD gets older. She will begin to notice that she is your MIL's whipping boy girl and it will be very damaging for her sad

YummyMummybee Thu 21-Nov-13 22:21:09

Thanks Funnyrunner agree, also it will do DD's no good to see the way complete lack of respect she has for DH & the contempt she has for me. I feel much better in myself since I have started to limit contact & also having it on my terms only. My sister describes her behaviour as narcissistic & having gooled that she fits the bill perfectly! Would like my dd's to have a relationship with FIL as he is just a fantastic man but I can't have it every way unfortunately...

Chippednailvarnish Thu 21-Nov-13 22:24:35

"a son is a son until he takes a wife, but a daughter is a daughter for the rest of your life."

I'd memorise this and repeat it to her everytime she makes any comment on having daughters. That'll annoy the hell out of her...

YummyMummybee Thu 21-Nov-13 22:32:14

Love that chippednailvarnish & will file away in my repitoire of quotes for her!!! I'm so timid & as I said a people pleaser so I have never properly stood up to her but now I realise I have to for DD1 & DD2's sake when they arrive...
It really annoyed me about xmas asking other sil's what they would like for their kids then my DD can make do as she "has enough & what more could she possibly need"
Another big bone of contention was my DDs clothes, her second granddaughter arrived 6 months later & she said " I presume you'll be handing down all DD's clothes to SIL". I said no I actually won't be passing anything on as we are planning more kids so I will be holding on to what we have & besides alot of it was belong to my own sister who is now expecting!!! SIL holds it against me that I don't share, I can't win!

BasilDalekEater Thu 21-Nov-13 22:38:49

I agree with others, tell her you didn't give the baby her name because she clearly doesn't like girls.

Also I'd tell her I'm expecting a boy and he's going to be called Attila Ivan Dumbledore, Mercutio Rameses or Fanjolio Zucchini. Let her stew for a few months thinking her grandson is going to have a silly name.

Also I would pull her up every time when she says something about girls. "I don't want you saying things like that around DD because it might damage her self-esteem". "Please don't say things like that around DD as it's very insulting to her". Etc. She'll get pissed off with being told off.

And make no effort to contact her or do stuff with her. Let her do the running if she wants a relationship with her GC's.

ZenNudist Thu 21-Nov-13 22:40:49

Chipped I hate that phrase but perfect for OP in PA war against her MIL.

I'd be ignoring that you ever promised to call dd2 after MIL. If she brings it up express surprise that she'd be keen to have a gd named after when she has always made disparaging comments about your dd & daughters in general.

Also I'd be unable to stop myself from telling her to stop talking piffle. Mind you, ignoring her as you are doing is great.

FreudiansSlipper Thu 21-Nov-13 22:42:37

just keep telling yourself her problem she is the one that has an issue, stop trying to work out what it is or second guess her it is a waste of your energy and accept she probably will never change which is sad

it is very very difficult dealing with passive aggressive people as they never see they are in the wrong and you waste your time trying to make them see things from your point of view

i think you are dealing with her fine by backing off and not playing her sad game

Chippednailvarnish Thu 21-Nov-13 23:06:40

I'd actually never heard the phrase until my DM said it to my MIL to put her in her place when she was passively agressively having a snide go at me at a family lunch.

My DM also then told her when I was pregnant with DD that we should call her Doris and her brother Boris as DH's family share a famous politicans surname. Oh how we laughed, oh how MIL sulked.

You need to harness the power of my DM, we haven't nicknamed her the "megaphone of truth" for nothing...

YummyMummybee Thu 21-Nov-13 23:17:01

Haha that's fantastic!!! Doris & Boris lol! Yes narcissists hate being put in their place! I think I need some of your DM's courage!!!
Thanks a million for the rest of the replies, I think I'm doing well too by just avoiding her & making no effort, I tried my best during my maternity leave & the more I tried the more she could see I was desperate for DD to be included with the other granddaughters which gave her more power...
I'm happier not stewing over her thinly veiled snide comments & I feel like I've got some of my control & my own power back. I think now I am a mother myself I am a little more confident & know how I want my DDs to be treated...
I'm so happy I posted today as I really needed to strengthen my resolve & I'm getting nervous about the fallout from the name. At the start DH & I were afraid she would resent DD2 if she wasn't named after her but we came to the realsiation that she would be resented anyways based on her gender so why would we name our precious baby after her! As another poster said I don't want to detest DD's name everytime I call her...

FunnyRunner Fri 22-Nov-13 10:08:40

I do get quite depressed at these threads and how common they are. WHY do people behave like this? Just WHY? Why would you behave like that to a child, even if you have taken an irrational dislike to the child's mother?

Really do keep your distance OP. Her next steps might be one of the following.
Either: cut you off, bad mouth you etc. - which frankly is a winner in some ways - but will probably make your DH very sad (thinking he is missing his mother when actually he is longing for the mother he wished he had).
Or: she may become sweetness and light to your DH to try and turn him against you. If she does it will be hard for him to resist a sudden surge of affection which he has probably longed for for a very long time. So it might be worth keeping that in mind and having a strategy in place should it happen.

FWIW the latter is very hard to forgive. My mother tried to get my DH to turn on me after a row (in which she behaved outrageously). I have never forgotten it and tbh I never will.

Hissy Fri 22-Nov-13 16:21:50

I'm loving the Megaphone of Truth!

theoriginalandbestrookie Fri 22-Nov-13 16:32:44

She sounds like a right peach OP, poor you.

I think she should be told sooner rather than later that the baby will not be named after her, best to get the unpleasantness out of the way, rather than when the new baby arrives.

DH's job rather than yours. He could tell his DF and then if he complains that DMil is upset about this, then DH should say that she is being oversensitive grin.

Your MIL sounds more outright aggressive than passive aggressive btw. Passive aggressive would be your DH telling his DF that you have decided to give the baby a different name because you want a nice modern name for DD2 and MILs name is a bit old fashioned.

TheEponymousGrub Fri 22-Nov-13 16:39:48


I was going to post a suggestion that you give your MIL's name as a second or third name, because that way you avoid the accusation of having broken your promise. Not because your MIL deserves it - she sounds horrible.
But as I've now read your later posts, I think you are right not to. Your MIL will find something else to complain about anywya, so why put yourself out in the least?

Btw re: your SIL who resents your not handing down your dd's clothes - do you have only your MIL's word for that?

auntpetunia Fri 22-Nov-13 16:58:43

Oh she's jealous of not having a daughter! Are you sure the other DiLs are treated as well as she says or does she just get pleasure in winding you up?

AdoraBell Fri 22-Nov-13 17:25:45

I agree, she probably doesn't treat the other DILs much better, unless you have seen it consistently OP.

My MIL, who I don't mention much on here, would have you believe that she treats all her DILs well and fairly when in fact she treats us all like undesirable thieves who have stolen her sons. One thinks she's treated well and another thinks she is the only one treated badly. MIL plays them off against each other, just as she does with her sons. She has tried to drag me into it but I have too much fun watching from the sidelines to get involved<caah>

And the reason the other GDCs are treated better is because they didn't have the audacity to be born female, therefore their mothers are not a threat because they have towed the family line. I would have to tell her that the gender of the DC depends on the gender of the fertilizing sperm, therefore it's her son's fault that you have daughters.

DrHolmes Fri 22-Nov-13 18:09:31

I don't understand her thoughts really..I mean, i would probably say to her "so, i wonder if your father was disappointed to have you?"

Pretty evil but she is being a bitch to you.

Also, re her name. I wouldn't have a second thought about it. Do not name your dd2 after her and do not think twice about it.

Give her "this is a man's world" on dc for xmas.

YummyMummybee Fri 22-Nov-13 23:00:27

Thanks so much for all the replies. It's horrible being in this situation, I hate the way she attempts to undermine my mom because my mom had a good profession,whenever I try to speak up I freeze so I have decided it would be best to avoid fullstop.
Another example of how she ridiculed me was when prince George was born. We were at a family party & I was joking with friends about how my dd's husband had arrived. MIL spluttered, don't be ridiculous she wouldn't stand a chance with the prince!!! I said omg that is your granddaughter you are talking about, she backtracked when all eyes were on her & said Oh I just wouldn't like that life for her...
No the other SIL's are treated differently, like I said all were asked what their children would like for xmas & we weren't asked as my dd "has enough"... So far we have said we are keeping the names to ourselves but we have a boys & girls chosen that we both love...
Big drama also when we told her I was expecting at 12 weeks, she rightly assumed my mom knew way before that & was going mad she wasn't the first to know... We were sorry we went over to her to break the news, in hindsight going by her behaviour DH should have just rang FIL...

bakehouse Thu 28-Nov-13 12:35:37

I too have an awful mil with a similar attitude towards girls! DD1 was born in November and as parents in law lived a way away the first time they saw her was on Christmas day when DD was aged 5 weeks. She walked in, totally ignored the baby in the pram and started admiring my sons bike (which wasn't even new!) which was standing behind the pram! After about ten minutes of her not even acknowledging my daughter I thrust her into mils arms saying 'I'm sure you'd like to have a cuddle with your first grandaughter'. She looked down at her and said 'well you're a funny little thing aren't you, I'm sure you'll grow up to be a right little madam'. She then made a few comments to her husband about how you know where you are with boys, how she was so thankful she had only had two sons and how basically we were in for a lifetime of trouble! Father in law is lovely and stood there shifting uncomfortably and looking embarrassed. DD is 16 now and we have a second DD aged 14. Mil is still difficult, argumentative and never has a good word to say about anyone. I honestly can't stand her. She criticises the things my children eat, what they wear, their friends, the subjects they have chosen to study for GCSE, A levels. She hates that I have a successful career as a teacher. DH is generally supportive but also hates to upset his mother even though he knows she is a mardy old cow! Consequently we rarely see his parents as it always causes stress and arguments.

MirandaGoshawk Thu 28-Nov-13 12:48:50

This woman has issues that are nothing to do with you, meaning that you didn't provoke them and they're not your fault. Is it possible that she had a difficult time with her fourth DS & feels guilty? Anyway, it does sound as if she's jealous, which is utterly ridiculous - you'll never be his mother and she'll never be his wife!

Anyway, how to handle - I would suggest getting your SILS onside - not criticizing your MIL but just making sure that you & they are good mates. That way you are more likely to be included. Also explain your POV to your DH so that he understands where you're coming from.

Other than that - maintain dignity in front of this woman, and ignore, ignore, ignore her taunts! She is a bitter and unhappy person.

I've had my MIL for 30 years now (oh joy!) and she, too, was/is jealous of me and treated me badly. She has insulted me in front of the family. But she has also come to realise that her precious DS isn't perfect and that she is better off having me as a friend than an enemy.

So keep your head up - if you're nothing less than nice and reasonable, while not being bowed down by her nastiness, then hopefully she will see that she isn't winning and you will end up with a truce, at least!

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