AIBU to worry about MIL & DD?(14 Posts)
I find my MIL difficult, but she clearly loves DD & DD (2.5) loves her. However my in-laws family dynamic & interactions are completely different to how my family deal with things. I worry a bit about some of the stuff MIL says to DD and wonder if I should step in sometimes, but have been trying to ensure we don't fall out & have been biting my tongue. I would actually like to be told IABU as then I can carry on biting my tongue as I am doing & try to ignore things.
The main things I am worried about are:
1) MIL very flaky- says she will come at a certain time then may turn up possibly hours (think 4 or 5) late or not at all
2) MIL makes promises she can't keep. Most recent example she offered to pay for something in the garden for DD as a present. I got quotes & told her it was more than we thought, was she sure? Yes definitely go ahead. A few weeks later when we had paid deposit we spoke to her re further payment. No she didn't have any money to pay for any of it anymore.
3) MIL uses very emotive language with DD. for example last time we saw her as we left she said to DD "I miss you so much when you go every time you leave I cry and cry"
So is this all fine in the context of a loving relationship? As I say it is nothing like my family and how any of them behave but to DH it is normal so I would in this cas genuinely like an outsider perspective.
So she misses your daughter so much she cries but she doesn't bother to show up on time for a visit
Flaky indeed. Especially not coming through with payment for promised gifts.
I don't think the crying thing is a good thing to say - your daughter may feel sadness/guilt for doing something wrong (even though she hasn't). I'd ask her to stop this, as it might cause distress.
But I think the rest of it will have to be written off as her flakiness.
Just get over it.
Yabu, keep biting your tongue.
MIL uses very emotive language with DD. for example last time we saw her as we left she said to DD "I miss you so much when you go every time you leave I cry and cry
I wouldn't bit my tongue and ignore that bit.
What seems to be 'a loving relationship' doesn't excuse unacceptable behaviour. She's unreliable - that's very frustrating and something you need to be aware of as DD gets older, in case MIL is promising her things she won't be able to deliver on.
I would be really concerned about the emotional manipulation in point 3. DD is only 2.5 now but as she gets older, this may well make her feel guilty for 'leaving' nanny. Very unfair. I would counter this with something breezy like 'oh never mind nanny, we'll be back to see you in X days / next week / whatever' so that it takes the sting out of it for DD
Don't fall into the trap of 'keeping the peace' or biting your tongue for a quiet life. Or feel under pressure to 'get over it' - never helpful advice!
So she's a flaky person.
What exactly do you expect to achieve by 'talking to her' about this?
apart from pissing her off and coming over patronising and controlling
don't plan your life round flakey people, let them fit in if they manange.
Take any offers of help as a maybe bonus, so if you can't afford or don't really want the thing they are offering don't do anything about it, cry ignorance a conversation could go "oh DIL where is the x I was going to pay for?" "Oh MIL i thought you were arranging it, so i haven't done anything".
Don't wait in if you were actually going somewhere, "oh dear granny isn't here, can you text her to let her know to meet us there?".
She isn't going to change, arguing isn't going to do any good but cause hard feelings.
Hmmm. I think if she says that anything that clearly upsets or confuses your daughter then you do need to address it. It doesn't have to be right there and then but it could be later with your dd. I have had to do this occasionally with my ds and FIL. Ds adores FIL but knows that FIL is flaky and although he should be loved and respected is not to be taken seriously at all times.
Is it controlling to be annoyed that someone turns up 4 hours late?
3) MIL uses very emotive language with DD. for example last time we saw her as we left she said to DD "I miss you so much when you go every time you leave I cry and cry
Sorry, pressed too soon. Don't ignore that bit, it's manipulative. Mine does the same and it drives me mad.
Say we go away for a couple of days she'll say to dc "oh, leaving me all by myself for a few days, I'll be lonely"....
I say something like "we're only going away for a couple of days, we're not emigrating, and we'll see you in a few days"!
Then feel like a total bitch but My God it drives me mad!
*What exactly do you expect to achieve by 'talking to her' about this? apart from pissing her off and coming over patronising and controlling*
Eh? Is it best to let her keep on mucking up plans, letting people down and emotionally confusing a small child then?
Big red flags on number three I'm afraid op.
The other stuff fine, hold your tongue- she's a flakey person and its annoying.
But number three sounds manipulative and not appropriate for a 2.5 year old. I would have to say something like ' please don't say that to her as she might think she has done something wrong and get upset'
My mil is manipulative and I can see her saying things along these.
Nip that in the bud. Not right to say it to a child.
Not sure if that will help you but my grandmother was one of the most important person in my life, I had a very strong bond with her how ever in many ways I think her relationship with me was a bit unhealthy. We lived with her for a while when I was little (in her house) when we moved out again because my mom had found a nice flat, she would tell me that she missed me so much she cried and wandered around the house calling my name because she had forgotten I wasn't there anymore. She was a very emotionally manipulative woman in many ways, I didn't see it as a child and my devotion to her was absolute, sometimes above the one I had for my own mother. As an adult I understand why she acted this way, she was a terribly unhappy and insecure woman who had been hurt many times over by her loved ones in her life (from childhood). Now of course that doesn't excuse what she was doing to secure those she loved in her life but it explains why she was doing it.
One more point, very important one I think, is that despite her manipulations there's was so much more to my grandmother than this and she genuinely was a kind and loving grandmother who would have done everything for me, she never once let me down in any way and I knew I could always rely on her. The fact that your mother in law is perhaps inappropriately emotive towards your dd in someways concerns me a little less than her false promises and her letting her down. Emotional manipulation often masks a deeper hurt and insecurity which I think deserve sympathy not suspicion. You should however do what you can so that your daughter knows that granny is exaggerating how much she misses her so your daughter doesn't feel burden by this.
This is how I view this based on my experience, taking into account the empty promises along with the over emotional stuff, I'm not sure if the situations are similar or not. I guess only you can tell if your mil is being manipulative for hurtful selfish reasons or because she is feeling insecure in her relationship with did or her son or even with you and is desperate to offer the world and then can't deliver.
Having said all this (sorry so incredibly long) in either cases I think you need to protect your dd from feeling hurt by mil letting her down and from the burden of your mil happiness/sadness because neither of these should be her concerns or responsibility. I don't know if the best way is to discuss with dh and/or mil or to go directly to dd and lower expectations a little. Ie. Granny said she might be able to come over today, but we're not sure yet. Or, of course granny misses you when your not there, just like you miss her but she is a grown up and she doesn't really cry she was just exaggeration so you know how much she loves you.
Thank you for the very thoughtful posts, especially iliveonabuildingsite
Join the discussion
Please login first.