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Controlling DM(12 Posts)
I need a little advice on how to deal with my DM.
Ever since we had our DS (7 months) my DM has started treating me like a child. I'm 27, DS is my first child, my DM's first grandchild. I also have a DSD from my DH's 1st marriage so I'm not totally new to being a parent.
When DS was 3 weeks old my parents came to visit and my DM insisted she was here to 'help' even though there wasn't much help needed as I was BF and my DH was off with me for the first month.
During that visit (and a few others) she made comments about how I was BF wrong (even though HV told me I was doing everything right and DS was and is gaining weight healthily), how co-sleeping was bad, etc etc and basically how 'back in her day they did everything differently' and essentially 'better'. I didn't say anything back to that.
Then the four of us went to stay with my parents for a week and during that visit I noticed my DM wouldn't make any comments when my DH was in the room as he would often bite back if he disagreed with her.
My problem is I'm going home for 5 days just me and my DS, and I know she will be commenting on everything I do. She is very controlling and no one in our family ever really sticks up to her...I have spoken to my DH re this and he says I will have to stick up for myself and DS, there is no other way around it.
So, yesterday when she phoned and said how she will come to help when I go back to work, I tried to say that actually for the first couple of months I would like to settle in our routine first and I was gonna explain that later on she is more than welcome to come and visit/help. But she didn't even let me finish and started shouting at me that if I don't need her help she won't be coming over ever.
All this really upsets me as I just wish my DM would support me rather than stress me out every time she visits or I visit her. I have now started avoiding her calls sometimes and have even lied that my friends are visiting when she has wanted to come over.
She has such a strong personality I find it so difficult to stick up for myself as she either starts shouting or gets offended. I am generally quite quite and I don't like confrontation...so my and DS's visit home is already stressing me out so much I can't sleep at night.
I know I need to talk to her but how???
Hmmm strong personality is often a kind way of saying 'bully' and that's exactly what your mother is from your post.
Your DH is right - you need to stand up to her, but this doesn't necessarily mean a shouting confrontation. You need to be firm and she needs to realise that you mean what you say. Just repeat firmly whatever it is you need to say: 'My HV has said that this is the right way' etc. You actually hold all the power - if she's too dreadful she risks seeing less of her DGC. And if you find her too overwhelming and upsetting then leave and go home early. These are precious early days with your little boy - don't let her spoil them for you. It will be really hard the first time you stand up to her, but it does get a bit easier (says the woman who was well over 35 when she stood up to her own mother . . .Be prepared for the guilt-trip as well - I now get told I don't have an ounce of compassion and am very hard-hearted . . .)
If she starts shouting then tell her you'll leave the room until she can behave more pleasantly.
If she sulks then leave her to it. Being brisk, bright and firm is the most effective way, I find.
If she doesn't comment when your DH is around, then she will back down when she sees that you won't put up with her nonsense. But be prepared for her to blame your husband for turning you into someone who stands up to her (she'll say 'is difficult/ ungrateful').
Anyway - good luck. I'll shut up now.
No, you don't need to talk to her. Not if she's shouting. Why are you going to stay with her?
If she says she won't be coming over ever, call her bluff. Do you think for one second that she means it?
Nanny it's my dad's birthday my DH can't get time off work plus DSD is at school. So it's just me and DS.
Sally thanks for your advice glad to see I'm not the only one who has been in this situation...
Badtime I know she doesn't mean it I just wish I knew how to respond so she starts listening to me and stops shouting/threatening
Stop calling it "going home" for a start. You're a grown adult with a family of your own. Surely your home is with dh and dcs?
She sounds exactly like my mother - down to the offers of help not actually being helpful.
The trouble is at the moment she knows that you don't want to upset her and will back down, so she will get what she wants (I'm guessing his has been a pattern through your whole life?). If you stand up to her and treat her like you would at tantrumming toddler (which is what her behaviour probably best resembles) she will have to give up. I started walking out whenever my other started shouting or behaving badly. I told her that things we going to happen in such and such a way (and made sure that the way was perfectly reasonable), or we couldn't have a relationship. Miraculously since realising that she can't shout and scream to get her own way she has improved. I'd also suggest that you stop hoping that your DM will support you - if she never has in the past she will not be changing now - that's just wishful thinking on your part.
Incidentally I think it's telling that you refer to your parents' house as "home" ...
I grew up/my parents stay abroad which is why I refer to the country as home not their house. My actual home obviously is with my DS and DC
You now have the trump card, she wants to see her grandkids and you have control, so don't turn into a bitch but know you can win every fight you choose.
Treat her like a child if she throws a tantrum or sulks just walk away, if she gets abusive on the phone say calmly "i am going now, bye bye" and put the phone down.
I would quote your HV as she can quite rightly show how often things have changed, and how often HV advice has changed.
The killer line is "i am glad how you did it worked for you mum, this is working for me, it is how i AM doing it". Don't tell her she did it wrong as that is rude, but just acknowledge everyone is different.
Ignore as much as you can and choose your fights, the things that upset you most.
If she comes on with the ungrateful stuff as a previous person has said reply "no mum not ungrateful, just the strong adult who knows her own mind, you raised." If she lets you talk long enough.
Or no mum just an adult.