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I am trying to improve my relationship with my MIL but I find it very hard when she says stuff like this, AIBU?

(54 Posts)
Addictedtocustardcreams Sun 10-Jan-16 19:50:30

I overheard my MIL say the following to my DD yesterday, she is 3.
MIL: do you want to come and stay at my house?
DD: no my house
MIL: why? Don't you love me?
This exchange was then repeated with DD looking increasingly anxious.
At this point I intervened & asked MIL to stop.
Is this normal? It doesn't feel OK to me. Am I over-reacting?

Joopy Sun 10-Jan-16 19:57:41

That is odd. Is your MIL OK? She sounds very insecure and needy. How do you get on with her? Do you have other examples of behaviour like this?

ollieplimsoles Sun 10-Jan-16 19:59:04

Christ why would anyone think that's an ok thing to say to a child...

Op my mil says things like this and she has a personality disorder, tread carefully..

ollieplimsoles Sun 10-Jan-16 20:00:59

Oh and if it 'doesn't feel ok' to you, then its not ok, follow your instinct yanbu

awkwardas78 Sun 10-Jan-16 20:01:10

What is this obsession grandparents have with having their grandchildren coming to stay? She was emotionally blackmailing her three year old grandchild which is rather weird. Just tell your dd that she doesn't have to stay at grandma's if she doesn't want to and it doesn't mean she doesn't love her grandma. Children her age often feel anxious about staying at someone else's house, even someone familiar so MIL was wrong to apply pressure, especially in such an inappropriate way.

CiritheLionessofCintra Sun 10-Jan-16 20:07:09

That doesn't sound right at all. Some would say emotional manipulation "You'll do this if you love me." MIL could be very insecure about such things. Does you DD usually stay with her? And how did you respond to her saying that to your DD?

MrsBartlettforthewin Sun 10-Jan-16 20:15:22

Was going to say the same sort of thing as awkward Does MIL do this with other people as well? The 'if you loved me' guilt trip.

Addictedtocustardcreams Sun 10-Jan-16 20:50:03

DD has only ever stayed at MIL's with us. She has said other stuff playing on DD's emotions like this before but this to me was the worst. I generally find her hard work but recognise that she is important to my DH so have been trying to be more relaxed about stuff she does & says so we can all get along.
DH knows she said this but didn't find it surprising (although didn't agree it was too much) as he says this is the type of stuff she said when he was a kid.

NanaNina Sun 10-Jan-16 21:10:00

It wasn't a very wise thing to say to a 3 year old, or any age for that matter. I'm a MIL and GM and I do have to take issue with awkwards about the comment "what is this obsession GPs have with having their GC to stay" - I guess you won't know until you're a grandmother! I've loved having my GC to stay (it feels very special) and it's sharing with them the house where you live (and you get to spoil them!) BUT I would never make a comment like that. But I think to say she was "emotionally blackmailing the child" is going too far. She was just being a bit daft and was disappointed the child didn't want to stay. I'd have probably said "OK maybe when you're older." And "playing on child's emotions" - oh god I think you're cranking this up when it was just a silly remark.

You were obviously there OP when MIL made the remark - could you just not have said "oh maybe stay with nanny when you're a bit older" - not surprised DH isn't taking exception to this and I think if you really are trying to get on better with MIL you'll have to accept her for who she is, the same way she has to accept you.

PonyoLovesHam Sun 10-Jan-16 21:10:59

Watching with interest.
My mil (who I would class as toxic) does similar things. She doesn't spend 'quality' time with dd age 4, like doesn't actually interact with her and would never play a game or draw with her. Fil is better at this sort of thing, so dd naturally goes to him more.
Recently I heard mil say to dd "oh you like fil more than me don't you?" Cue confused and slightly upset dd and mil acting like she's done nothing wrong.

abbsismyhero Sun 10-Jan-16 21:31:04

ooooh you love grandad more than nanny do you? yes nanny! cue full blown tears from nanny grandad ranting at parents and not seeing anyone for months because it's just too hard (apparently it hurt too much not to be loved by the grandchild she hadn't seen for more than six months because she was busy enjoying her life)

i want normal grandparents anyone know where you can buy them?

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Sun 10-Jan-16 21:31:09

Agree with NanaNina (and I'm not a MIL or a granny); the MIL-bashing on mumsnet is getting more pronounced and less-balanced than ever. My tolerance for DIL-behaviour in the future has certainly been honed by what some posters say on here. It's quite ridiculous and over-dramatic.

Where are the sons in these comments about their mothers? That's what I want to know. They 'own' their children 50%, much as some women don't seem to like to think of that.

I'm really not surprised at the number of MIL problems that are posted about. If I spoke to my MIL (or my mum) the way that some do, I'd be given a flea in my ear and would deserve it. Some of the complainants seem really disrespectful and the losers are ultimately the children.

Organon8 Sun 10-Jan-16 21:33:05

What is your H going to do about it?

awkwardas78 Sun 10-Jan-16 21:38:43

I don't think it's MIL bashing. The OP observed that her MIL was actively making her daughter uncomfortable and even repeated the behaviour. Three year olds are very susceptible to manipulation and to infer that dd has to stay over or she doesn't love grandma actually does equate to emotional blackmail when said to a child this young because the child will take it very literally. My MIL keeps on at me to let dd (3) stay over but my dd really doesn't want to. It's not all about the grandparents' needs.

abbsismyhero Sun 10-Jan-16 21:47:05

in the case of my ex he was right in front of me telling her to shut up and stop with the tears he took all the phone calls off his family them stating we were being nasty as hell refusing to allow her to see ds he repeated constantly that it was her not coming to see us not the other way round she had her own car we did not she worked days and the bus service in our area was daytime only so why should we be visiting in the evening when we couldn't get home they told him to man up learn to drive it was all our fault no matter what was said it was twisted to be us we caught a bus to see them once as they promised us a lift home predictably this did not happen so we caught a bus to another village 4/5 miles away and walked home apparently this was wrong too

rumbleinthrjungle Sun 10-Jan-16 21:56:02

It's less MiL bashing than some posters becoming so sensitised to the word that on any thread they arrive to defend the MiL on principle.

To say to a child 'why won't you do this (what I want)? Don't you love me?' will have felt to the child exactly like emotional blackmail. It's pressure to put her feelings aside and do something she has said she doesn't want to do not to upset an adult. That's not something a kind or well meaning adult does unless they're having a particularly selfish moment, it's not a good or ok thing to do and the OP shouldn't let MiL get on with it just because well, gosh, she's a MiL and that's tough and whatever she does should be understood and sympathised however negatively it might impact on others. The OP isn't suggesting going NC because of it!

OP's first responsibility is to her child's feelings, not her MiL's, and MiL is operating from a place of power the child does not have.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Sun 10-Jan-16 21:59:52

awkwardas... From my own experience, three year olds will take their cue from their parent. A smiley "Don't be daft MIL, of course she loves you" would take the sting out of the reprimand.

No, children shouldn't be made to stay where they will not be happy, of course not, but neither should what seems like a default attitude of 'hackles up' be allowed to fester and influence the children either. Imagine, if OP's husband posted what some posters do, calling his MIL 'toxic' or whisking his daughter away threatening to 'go no contact'? It's very sad and some DILs will truly reap what they sow... unfortunately, so will their children and partners be caught up in it too.

We're talking about family here, not random people on the street... confused

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Sun 10-Jan-16 22:01:11

rumble... presumably, MIL does love her grandchild. Why can't that be the default assumption rather than a power-struggle diagnosis?

bettyberry Sun 10-Jan-16 22:03:44

In this case its the manipulativeness of the 'don't you love me?' that I don't like. Not because its a MIL but I have very firm boundaries and here my DS knows that if he doesn't want to stay with someone I don't force him. Its the same with hugs, kisses and I've heard the phrase used when children refuse to do this too. Staying over and such is an intimate thing that no child should have forced on them or be manipulated over.

Geraniumred Sun 10-Jan-16 22:03:47

No you are not over reacting. Your dd obviously just doesn't want to go and stay. Maybe when she is older. Mils can be a little pushy on this.

eastwest Sun 10-Jan-16 22:03:52

I don't think this is normal either. It's weird. Very pass-agg and needy.

redcaryellowcar Sun 10-Jan-16 22:04:16

I don't think it matters which grandparent ( or aunt/ uncle etc) said it, it was not helpful, confused and upset a child and was totally unnecessary. It's not ok to speak to children like this.

tootsietoo Sun 10-Jan-16 22:31:02

rumble didn't diagnose a power struggle - just why the behaviour of this particular MIL was wrong. It's an unreasonable thing to say to anyone, whatever age!

PIL have to work at their relationship with their grandchildren, they can't expect to have one automatically, and even if they do put some effort in, that doesn't guarantee that grandchild and grandparent will get on very well! Grandchildren certainly don't have a duty to hug, kiss or spend time with grandparents on their own if they don't want to.

NanaNina Sun 10-Jan-16 22:34:39

Rumble you're the first one to come up with "defending the MIL on principle" - it's never long before it comes on a MIL bashing thread. It's usually a comment to me personally. What gets me is that there are often pages of DILs agreeing with the OP but it doesn't seem to strike them that could very well be "defending the MIL on principle - amazing" I am usually accused of defending ALL MILs when that's not the case but again no recognition that they could be defending ALL DILs.

How refreshing Lyingwitch - absolutely agree with you, and this is a DIL who claims that she is trying to get on better with her MIL!! And yes there is so much drama and pejorative terms, when all that was needed (as you said) was a smile and "Oh she'll come when she's a it older and of course she loves you." End of. The way some posters are talking it's as if the child has been emotionally scarred - maybe even for life!!!
Organon wants to know what the OP's H is going to do about it!!! Ban his mother from the house or as I keep reading on here "go no contact" - get the child to a child psychologist and boil his mother in a vat of oil!!
What do you think he should do??

The usual advice is to get DH to "sit his mother down" and make it very clear that she was out of order in what she said to his daughter and his wife is very upset about it, so granny isn't going to be allowed any unsupervised contact in case she say something else detrimental to the child............yes?

NanaNina Sun 10-Jan-16 22:37:14

I meant "defending the DIL on principle

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