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AIBU or is MIL insensitive

(50 Posts)
LovelyBranches Fri 15-Jul-16 10:57:07

My father died when I was in my early twenties. I adored him. He's missed out on so much of my life and even though it's been nearly 8 years I still feel sad that he didn't get to meet my dc, walk me down the aisle, have a cup of tea in my house.

Mil has met my DF. Me and DH were a couple when my DF died although not living together at that point. She tried to stop dh supporting me a lot saying that it was draining him, even driving him home after the funeral "because he's had a tough day".

Anyway, MIL is still insensitive I feel. She buys DS clothes with logo's on that says 'If you think I'm bad, you should meet grandad' and she seems desperately put out that my DS is like the absolute double of my father and she really seems to overly stress all the things that Ds can do with grandad when he's older. FIL doesn't do this. TBH, FIL barely seems bothered by DS except for an occasional visit.

There have been times I've almost burst into tears when I see these clothes and I just shove them to the back of the wardrobe or when comments are made but I don't know if I'm being overly sensitive. Dh thinks I should just roll my eyes but DH has never lost anyone close to him, except elderly relatives who died from old age. I don't think he understands that he's been able to celebrate everything in his life with his family where mine feels like it was torn in two.

Heatherplant Fri 15-Jul-16 11:04:41

Don't let it put a wedge between you and your DH. Nobody understands what it's like to lose someone until it actually happens to them and even then their way of dealing with it could be the polar opposite of yours. Personally I'd bag up anything that upsets you and give it to charity. Just be direct if you find a conversation too much and tell your husband he doesn't have to understand but he does have to support you, they're his parents at the end of the day so he should be challenging things that upset you.

Highlandfling80 Fri 15-Jul-16 11:22:23

It hard losing a parent young. I was 20 when my dad died. Sadly my dh dad passed away before I met him too. So although MIL had our differences she would never be so insensitive.

Batteriesallgone Fri 15-Jul-16 11:25:07

Your DH is responsible for making sure you and MIL have a good relationship. If he's not willing to support you that is really shit. Can't play suggest cutting down how much you see MIL.

Batteriesallgone Fri 15-Jul-16 11:25:21

Can't play?! *Can only

HarryPottersMagicWand Fri 15-Jul-16 11:34:28

Can you say you don't like clothing with slogans on as a way to get her to stop (that top sounds hideous regardless)?

I'd have to say something, "as my dad never got to be grandad, it upsets me that you feel the need to emphasise FIL as grandad so much"

It could just be you notice it because you are in pain. And if your dad had been here and she made these comments you probably wouldn't have noticed.

She sounds ridiculous though, driving your DH home from the funeral because he had a tough day! Why didn't he correct her on that one!

LovelyBranches Fri 15-Jul-16 11:41:22

I try not to see MIL that much if I can help it but DH is quite close to his mother. He recognises what she's like but calls it overenthusiasm and thinks it's kind that she buys gifts. To everyone else MIL is an effervescent person, the life and soul of a party, always smiling, but I find her insensitive and she lives in a bubble where she refuses to accept any bad things. So for example, my DF passing away doesn't affect her so she doesn't need to think about it. When SIL was pregnant and there were complications, MIL told me that it would be ok because she's a lucky person and bad things don't happen to her. In some ways I envy her ability to never let anything affect her, but she seems to do that by completely ignoring the fact that unfortunately my family has been greatly touched by grief and sadness (all of my closest relatives, aunts, uncles etc, except my dm, died during my 20s). I miss my father and I hate being reminded of the things he's missing and I feel that MIL constantly forcing DS's relationship with his grandfather is insensitive.

LovelyBranches Fri 15-Jul-16 11:42:44

Sorry, that last post should have had paragraphs. blush

IWillTalkToYouLater Fri 15-Jul-16 11:52:31

She is being insensitive. I'd wonder if she was doing it deliberately, some kind of twisted one-upmanship. I think the only way is to have a proper chat with your DH, make him understand how it makes you feel and ask him to deal with his mum. Even if she doesn't understand why, he needs to make her understand that her behaviour upsets you and must stop. She doesn't need to understand or overthink it, just bloody stop it. Give those clothes straight to the charity shop, why should you have something in YOUR house which causes you pain?

I'm so sorry about your dad, I can't imagine how hard it must be flowers

ffon Fri 15-Jul-16 11:58:29

Maybe if she's so perversely cheery the whole time, she thinks she's being positive by emphasising that your DC has a grandad. I'd try and speak to her about it, tell her it upsets you and that while you acknowledge other grandad the slogan items will not be used.

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 15-Jul-16 11:59:20

"He recognises what she's like but calls it overenthusiasm and thinks it's kind that she buys gifts"

Overenthusiasm and being kind my backside, she is sneaky, unkind, not at all empathetic and manipulative. She is really also trying to undermine you as parents, this is all about power and control and reading "Toxic Inlaws" by Susan Forward may well help. I would read up on narcissistic personality disorder and see how much if any of that type of disorder fits in with your MIL.

Your DH is really almost as much of a problem as his mother is, he has not got your back here. He has however, grown up with his parents and basically regards her behaviours as "normal". His own inertia when it comes to his mother in particular simply hurts him as well as you.

Re the clothes give them to the charity shop them if they upset you. Do not give them such power. I would not be wanting to spend time with these people either.

ElspethFlashman Fri 15-Jul-16 12:01:22

I dunno. I see it differently.

I see her trying to compensate in some way. She's trying to reiterate that at least your son has one grandfather. It's nothing to do with your Dad. It's just trying to emphasise the one grandfather that he does have.

And tbh just because your FIL isn't a natural grandfather yet, doesn't mean he is less important than your Dad. He has a right to have cheesy sweatshirt with a stupid slogan! He may get much more interested as your son gets older.

You say your MIL is insensitive for "forcing" your son to have a relationship with his grand dad. I disagree entirely and think it's normal to try and foster and encourage that relationship. Your son could grow up being really fond of his grandfather and actually I think you should hope he does.

My kids have no grandfathers at all. Never had. I really wish one of them was alive. I don't even mind which. It's such a shame they'll never know what a granddad is like.

JustSpeakSense Fri 15-Jul-16 12:11:57

Nobody can understand what it feels like to lose someone until they have flowers I think she is being insensitive but I also think you are overreacting a little.

Perhaps her enthusiasm (with the grandad t-shirts etc) is because she is disappointed in her DH relationship with his grandchild and she is trying to force things a bit.

I'd get rid of anything that upsets you, but try to brush it off a bit more too.

How lovely that your child is so similar to your dad, keep memories alive by talking about your dad often, keep photos around the house. Ignore MIL insensitivity, she cannot take away the fact that your dad's love still surrounds your family, draw strength from that X

Samcro Fri 15-Jul-16 12:14:37

wow yanbu
that is a horrid thing for your MIL to do, tbh I would just chuck them in a charity bin,
your DH should have words with her

ElspethFlashman Fri 15-Jul-16 12:17:04

I suspect you are most upset that your Dad is being pushed out of the picture because nobody talks about him.

Could you put a photo of your Dad in your son's room on the wall? And tell him he's his guardian angel?

That's what I tell my kids. That their dead grandparents are their guardian angels. I don't really believe in guardian angels tbh, but I did as a child and loved the concept and found it very comforting.

It will keep your Dad a very real part of the houshold and your kids childhood.

Sellingyesterdaysnews Fri 15-Jul-16 12:19:54

I think you are being sensitive, made worse by your mil being falsely positive and insensitive to you. I also think mil is over protective of her son.
The only thing I can think of to help you is some bereavement counselling or holistic therapy to talk through losing your dad , because once we have children we feel and see things differently all over again.
So sorry for your loss of your dad flowers

GnomeDePlume Fri 15-Jul-16 12:24:02

Your MiL reminds me of something I read about the Queen Mother once. Apparently she didnt like to hear any sort of bad news or sad story to the point where she would blank people who said anything that wasnt cheerful.

I find it odd and just a bit immature to go around with your head in a permanent happy haze.

You have my sympathy OP flowers. My DF died before my DCs were born. He wasnt really a child friendly sort of person but I think he would have loved his grandchildren.

tinyterrors Fri 15-Jul-16 12:24:31

I can see both sides. My mum died two years ago and it's so hard hearing my dcs call mil nanna and seeing things with 'nanna's little darling' or whatever on.

Without knowing your mil it's impossible to tell whether she's being nasty and vindictive or whether she's over emphasising the fact your ds still has one grandad. I'd give her the benefit of the doubt going on what you've said with her always being overly positive (Wrt your sil) and the constant remarks that your ds looks like your dad as trying to over compensate foe your dad not being here.

Talk to your dh and tell him that the things your mil is doing feel like salt in the wounds of losing your dad and he needs to tell her to tone it down. Hopefully he will and she'll listen, if not you need to have an honest conversation with her and tell her that even though her intentions are good (even if you think they aren't) that all the emphasis on how your ds looks like your dad, the clothes with grandad themed slogans etc are too much for you to deal with right now and can she tone it down.

Talk to your dh and mil and explain how it makes you feel. Hopefully she'll back off but if not then stop seeing her, as difficult as that may be, and put all the grandad slogan clothes in a charity bag.

NavyandWhite Fri 15-Jul-16 12:30:04

I'm sorry but I think you're being way too sensitive. The T shirt is for your sons other grandad.

I am sorry you have lost your dad.

CotswoldStrife Fri 15-Jul-16 12:38:35

I agree with what justspeak said, sorry OP but I do think you are being a bit over-sensitive. You and your MIL obviously have different ways of dealing with things and I suspect that you are both at opposite extremes.

I don't see your MIL forcing a relationship, while I understand your regret that your own DF is not a grandfather, your child does have a grandfather - it would be strange to ignore him.

I am sorry that you have suffered so many losses early on in life, but try to think of your family as complete rather than 'torn in two', as you put it. I often miss my mum as I do things with my own daughter that she did with me, I hope my own daughter will look back on these times with the same kind of fondness that I do and continue to make memories for the future rather than focus on what might be missing.

RaptorInaPorkPieHat Fri 15-Jul-16 12:41:43

I don't think you're being over sensitive.

A lot of people seem to think that grief magically disappears after 6 weeks or 6 months, it doesn't and the littlest things in life take you back to that moment.

Any sensible person would be able to understand references to Grandad being upsetting to you (my DM died before I had children) and that it's not anything to do with the other Grandad.

I don't think she's nasty or malicious, she is probably just lacking in empathy.

Batteriesallgone Fri 15-Jul-16 12:45:20

Not sure I've ever seen grandad-logoed clothes, sounds weird to me. It does sound like she's searching them out to make a point

JudyCoolibar Fri 15-Jul-16 12:49:12

NavyandWhite, somehow I think OP has worked out that the T shirt relates to the other granddad. That's the point, really.

IWillTalkToYouLater Fri 15-Jul-16 12:57:11

I've often been called oversensitive. Perhaps I am. But why is it much easier to call the person suffering 'oversensitive' rather than the person causing it 'insensitive'. In reality, it is often a bit of both, but I feel that the 'perpetrator' gets the benefit of the doubt far more often than the 'victim' in these scenarios.

Whatever her motives, it is upsetting the OP and those feelings are valid. If she is a decent person, she wouldn't want to upset her even if she didn't mean to and would modify her behaviour. Of course, if she is doing it on purpose, she still needs to be made to stop. It sounds to me like something in the middle, she knows her words/actions might upset op, but does it anyway as she doesn't believe she should be upset and she's technically doing nothing wrong.

CotswoldStrife Fri 15-Jul-16 13:13:38

Well in this case, the OP in her original post said she wasn't sure if she was being 'overly sensitive' so that's what people are responding to IWillTalk.

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