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To want to exclude DP's mother from my children's lives?

(23 Posts)
Weareallmadeofstars Fri 22-Jan-16 21:10:36

Hi, I'm looking for some constructive advice about how to deal with this as it's been going on far too long and I don't know where to turn. Sorry in advance for the long post.
I have been with my partner 17 years and we have 3 wonderful children together.
I never warmed to DP's mother. I always found her intimidating and false but couldn't put my finger on the reason why. It turns out she is very self centered, manipulative, and ticks many boxes for Narcissistic Personality Disorder (I have done lots of reading and don't use this term lightly).

Not long after meeting her, the snide and bitchy comments and sniggers towards me began, normally when no one else was around to hear. I always assumed I'd done something to deserve it and tried harder and harder to get her to like me. Over the 17 years I have known her she has become worse and worse. She has deliberately humiliated us in front of her friends and family, organised an expensive family holiday and ruined it by setting up arguments and sulking. She implied to my face that i was incompetent, implied to DP the I am a freeloader (I have had a job for the whole time we have been together). She has put extreme pressure on us to get married- not because of her moral values but because she wants to be the centre of attention and brag to her friends. She manipulated DP into agreeing to lend our car to their friends from overseas whilst we were away (I'd never met these friends) because she knew I'd say no. She spent my pregnancy telling me I was going to have an enormous baby, then tried to name our child.

Since our children came along, she undermines us in front of them, gleefully ignores our values, and is obsessed with getting them away from us to spend time alone with them. When we try to set boundaries she either goes into victim mode and cries/sulks, or sees it as a challenge. When she doesn't get her way she creates horrible atmospheres, even in front of the kids. She has been rude to my 4 year old for talking about something fun he did with my family- I think she was jealous. Things escalated last year when I tried to set a small boundary with her in the politest way I could. Afterwards in private she had a melt down, cried, called me aggressive and tried to get me to apologise. She also told me I can't involve DP in the disagreement because it's none of his business. Her family members have stopped communicating with me on social media so I think she has been bad mouthing me to them.
DP knows her behaviour is awful but has been conditioned by this woman not to stand up to her for fear of retribution in the form of a guilt trip/tears/hissy fit. We have reduced our contact with her because of her behaviour, and now she is trying to force he way further into our lives. We now avoid leaving the children with her unsupervised but this isn't a long term solution as it week be harder to do as the kids get older.
I don't want my children poisoned by the bitter old bag, or used as pawns to get at us. I worry that she will try to turn our children against us, I know she is capable. Help! sad

notenoughbottle Fri 22-Jan-16 21:15:22

She sounds awful. Go NC. You're poor DH sounds like he knows what to do but doesn't for fear of upsetting her. Just support him in the right direction. What a twisted individual.

RandomMess Fri 22-Jan-16 21:15:53

How much is your DP on your side? That is what it all hinges on tbh.

Sunnybitch Fri 22-Jan-16 21:16:55

Simple- tell the poisoned bitch to fuck off!

You've tryed for 17 years ffs, you've done your fair share flowers

Littlefish Fri 22-Jan-16 21:17:26

Unless your DP is prepared to stand up to her, then you really don't stand a chance.

If you have successfully managed to reduce contact with her, then reduce it still further.

You really need your DP to deal with this.

toomuchtooold Fri 22-Jan-16 21:39:04

As a daughter of one like this I will pass on what my theorist said, which is that you have a duty to protect your children from people like this. Don't let her try to do the same number on your kids as she did on your DP.
What does he think about the possibility that she has NPD? Does he agree? If so, I think you can make a pretty strong case to him that NC is the way to go. If not it is harder, but wither way, I think you're totally justified in NC.

toomuchtooold Fri 22-Jan-16 21:40:53


Also no advice on dealing with them, you can't change them, you just have to protect yourself from them by getting as far away as possible.

MumOnTheRunCatchingUp Fri 22-Jan-16 21:50:16

Well out her.... Tell her what you've told us. Tell her she's transparent and you know exactly what her aim is

Bullies like this can't continue once the game is up

And what have you got to lose?

Ifrit Fri 22-Jan-16 22:05:29

Bullies like this can't continue once the game is up

From experience, people like this go into victim mode when you try to call them on their shit and they twist it so that you're the bully. You can't argue with that level of emotional fuck-up.

OP, we've been NC with DH's toxic mother for almost three years now and our lives are better for it. You've already reduced contact, the next step is to cut it completely. Delete numbers from your phone, don't answer when she calls. If she comes to the house then tell her calmly but firmly that she cannot come in as you think it would be best if you had some distance given the situation. Then close the door.

It's hard, especially if other family members weigh in on the issue and try to talk you into being the bigger person and letting it go, but if you're at a point where you're worried about the impact on your children then you owe it to them to persist with the NC.

The biggest factor however is your DP. Is he willing to go NC? If he isn't then it'll be incredibly difficult to make it work as NC needs to mean a clean break.

HermioneWeasley Fri 22-Jan-16 22:06:40

She can't and won't turn your kids against you. Chi,Daren love the shittiest parents.

But I would be very clear with your DP that you and the kids will not be having any further contact with her. He can do what he wants.

EssexMummy1234 Fri 22-Jan-16 22:12:04

MumOnTheRun - because with narcs they will admit they are wrong if you paint it like that, but then because you have backed them into a corner they will go into a terrible rage and come out with all the reasons under the sun why it's actually someone's fault, and they will not let this go through the years and keep going off at you until they feel vindicated.

thank-you WeAreAllMadeOfStarts for posting this, it's reminded me of why I shouldn't let my narcissistic mother near my DD, I was feeling guilty even though she doesn't even acknowledge my lovely baby DS,

Take a look at the stately home thread btw.

TheJacksonEight Fri 22-Jan-16 22:15:57

Rude towards your child? How did you not nut her in the face there and then??

KarenLong Fri 22-Jan-16 22:27:18

if you dont like your mil and don't get on, just avoid her. nothing youve said sounds npd. you just dont like each other.

MumOnTheRunCatchingUp Fri 22-Jan-16 22:33:07

What does it matter?

They are going nc anyway. They are already alienated by the rest of the family

The damage is already done. She will know herself, why this has happened. She knows what she's doing. She needs to know she's not so clever. Then leave her to it.... She can rant and rave and go into 'victim mode' or whatever label you want to give it. It won't matter. You won't be around to hear it

Viviennemary Fri 22-Jan-16 22:37:29

I'd usually say try and get along with her but limit contact. But she sounds far worse than anything you should have to put up with. I'd refuse to see her for the time being. If your DH wants to take the DC's to visit her then fine but any more horrible behaviour and she doens't get to see them at all.

IamTheWhoreofBabylon Fri 22-Jan-16 22:44:50

Do you think the behaviour is normal then hmm

BlackSwan Fri 22-Jan-16 22:50:34

My MIL is an out and out bitch. Horrible person. I won't go into it, but she's been out of our lives for 5 years now and there has been absolutely no looking back. Some people are just poison and for us it had to end when she said something malicious about our son when he was just a baby. She has some kind of personality disorder for certain. I will leave her to it.

bananafish Fri 22-Jan-16 22:55:29

You can't 'deal' with these people. They will drain you of all hope. Just reduce contact; keep her away from your children and let your husband get on with it.

Of course, he's going to find it impossible to know what to do because he's been conditioned to accept the madness. So, he needs therapy for any chance of realistic change in his behaviour, but probably won't understand that.

I'm sorry - it's shit. But, honestly, all you can do is disengage.

Yseulte Fri 22-Jan-16 22:55:59

You're going to have to cut her out, but you'll have to get DP on board first.

He may need therapy to get to a point that he can stand up to her.

Italiangreyhound Fri 22-Jan-16 23:07:53

Weareallmadeofstars Yuck she sounds awful.

I think, Weareallmadeofstars in our shoes I would sit down with my dp and go through the facts, talk calmly and engage together on how you are going to deal with this.

The tantrums and sulks can only work if you begin to think she is really hurt, she is not, she is frustrated her plans have not worked, if you really think she has evil plans to cause division in the family and she sulks then you should feel a sense of relief, it means it has not worked, and is a perfect excuse to cut the meeting short.

I think I would either go no contact, or say to my dp that he can continue to meet her etc but I would not be putting myself or the kids in the way of that toxicity. The other option is only to meet her in very specific places where you are in control, e.g. a restaurant or park, not to have her to your house. If you go to her house or to public place and she is difficult make it clear if she does not stop her manipulation you will leave early!

Does she expect to have unsupervised contact with the children? Has this been your habit? Does she collect from school or take to school or does she look after the kids for you? If so, you need to stop this a.s.a.p. and put in place other options.

Because I tend to like to be fair with people I would be tempted to have a one to one coffee with her in a public place and explain I am unhappy with her behaviour over many, many years and that if it does not change, pronto, then I would be not contacting or meeting her again. I would give only those examples which are very clearly her being manipulate.

Good luck.

shazzarooney99 Fri 22-Jan-16 23:27:16

You have to be careful, if you make your husband choose he will resent you, i think you have to be very crafty here and perhaps be organsising stuff so she cannot see the kids, make it situations that you cannot get out of, just try and avoid her.

good luck xxxx

scallopsrgreat Fri 22-Jan-16 23:42:50

You have a problem with your DP.

Sorry but he should be dealing with this behaviour and he is basically sitting back and watching two women fight over him. Yeuch.

And bollocks to not making him choose. Absolutely make him choose. Then you'll see exactly what type of person he is and you'll know where you stand. Fuck playing games. The only games you'll be playing are hers and his.

Weareallmadeofstars Sat 23-Jan-16 11:06:43

Firstly thank you all for the great responses, there is some fantastic advice here smile

From experience, people like this go into victim mode when you try to call them on their shit and they twist it so that you're the bully. You can't argue with that level of emotional fuck-up.
Yes that is exactly what has been happening. I have tried to call her on her behaviour and I always come off looking like the nutter confused She is scarily clever but I suppose she has had 67 years of practice at being this unpleasant sad

That's good advice, yes our primary aim should be to protect our little ones from her poison.

She is anyways one step ahead of us and only she knows the rules to her games. I'll think I have got out of one game only to find myself in the middle of the next. Is mind boggling.

It has taken DH a very long time (and lots of long conversations, tears and arguments) to accept that his mother is this messed up. He has been making excuses for her all his life and will do anything to avoid confrontation. Don't forget he grew up thinking she is normal confused He forgives and forgets and he preferred it when i did the same. Now he has accepted that she has problems and agrees that we shouldn't have to put up with her behaviour, but hasn't a clue how to address the situation. We talk about solutions and strategies, and he agrees that next time she's horrible he will stand up for me but it never happens. Though more recently he has been venting to me when she upsets him (instead of pretending it never happened), which is progress.

I think it will be a while before he agrees that NC is a good idea. I am worried about pushing him away if I give him an ultimatum. We can't let this woman come between us any more than she already has. We have to be strong together and that's what I'm working on at the moment. It's a long process.

We have started keeping school events and family holidays secret because she keeps trying to invite herself along. Consequently this years family holiday is a secret from the kids so they don't let slip to Grandma. Not healthy and sooner or later we will be caught in a lie.

We have never let her have the kids overnight or pick them up from school, which she is upset about, especially a her friends get to babysit their grandkids all the time. We have stopped leaving them with her altogether, though this doesn't stop her trying to take the kids to the park 'so we can have a break from them' angry when we do see her. I'm always close enough to hear what she is saying to the kids so I can deal with it if she's out of order.
If we have to see her I try to meet up at the park, go for walks etc which makes things easier in a way but she spends the time trying to go off with the kids e.g. take one of them to the loo or deliberately lag behind with them if we are walking.

I'm just exhausted with the whole thing and spend too much time thinking and stressing when I should be enjoying family life.

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