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To be dreading MIL's Christmas Visit?

(75 Posts)
reallybadidea Tue 22-Nov-16 13:38:12

No entertaining tales of outrageously offensive behaviour I'm afraid, I just find her visits very hard work. She doesn't really 'do' small talk, or indeed any talk at all. She literally just sits there and watches what is going on and any attempts at conversation from us are met with barely any response. She doesn't appear to have any interest in the children and doesn't talk to them either. It makes for an incredibly awkward and frankly miserable atmosphere. To give an idea of what her level of social exchanges are like, she phoned the house phone on Sunday, I answered and literally all she said to me when I answered was 'Is 'e there?' which translates as 'can I speak to my son?'

I don't think she means to be rude but I am so sick of it after 17 years of being married to DH that I'm not sure how I can face potentially another 20+ years of visits like this (she's only 60!). We are kind and hospitable to her and DH says she enjoys her visits, but it is just such hard work having a visitor who makes no attempt at social interactions.

Does anybody else have a relative like this and how do you cope?!

luckylucky24 Tue 22-Nov-16 13:40:13

FIL never has much to say. He does interact with the kids though so I leave them to it and get on with what needs doing.

HollowTalk Tue 22-Nov-16 13:41:58

How come she's coming for Christmas? Who was daft enough to invite her?

reallybadidea Tue 22-Nov-16 13:42:51

It's our 'turn' (DH's siblings other years)

Aeroflotgirl Tue 22-Nov-16 13:44:27

My goodness, I would not be having that, she sounds as rude as hell. I know that some people are just not big talkers, but it costs nothing to be polite and courteous. I would tell DH that you are not happy that she is coming round and that you would rather he goes to see her on another day. Tell him that she's rude and impolite and you hate it.

MorrisZapp Tue 22-Nov-16 13:45:29

My mil is lovely and kind but has the conversational thrust of a wet paper bag. I made a rule early on with DP that he had to keep the balls in the air so to speak.

His mum, he can think of things to say. I'm not willing to spend more than ten minutes or so on the blood out of a stone routine.

MoreGilmoreGirls Tue 22-Nov-16 13:48:23

Aha I have the opposit my MIL never shuts up from her opening tirade about the journey/ traffic / weather to the state of her health (always bad) to long dull stories about her neighbours and friends that we don't even know. She shows no interest in us or the kids.
So can't really help OP other than to suggest a MIL swap this year as my ears could do with a break grin

NavyandWhite Tue 22-Nov-16 13:48:24

That's not normal behaviour is it? Has she some social issues? Is she depressed?

17 years and she's never spoken to you? confused

MadisonAvenue Tue 22-Nov-16 13:53:10

Are we related? Quite often I answer the phone to an "Is he there?"

However, when my mother in law comes to stay (three or four times a year) she talks and talks. Problem being she just doesn't have anything relevant or interesting to say, it's all gossip about people I don't know, but who I'm expected to know. She was here a few weeks and I happened to mention that a local shop had closed down and from that I had the life story of a woman who worked there, not that I've ever met her, to the point that I now even know where this woman's son works. I kid you not, four hours later we were sitting having dinner and she brought it all up again, so that she could tell my husband this time grin

timeforabrewnow Tue 22-Nov-16 13:54:58

Oh my god OP - that sounds grim for you, like an endurance test. How long is she staying for?

I also had to endure similar visits from a relative, where my every move was watched and sometimes remarked upon ( not unkindly - but still confused) bloom on hard work.

What helped was getting out and about. Also, draft in hour DH - a lot. And any other neighbours/ friends/people off the street 😬

HollowTalk Tue 22-Nov-16 13:55:02

Does she talk to anyone else? Would she rather spend Christmas with someone else?

If you are absolutely stuck with her, then I'd recommend gin in the kitchen, a film on TV, a long walk without her, a long bath (make sure you get bath stuff for Christmas to give you your excuse) and then make sure she leaves early.

WindPowerRanger Tue 22-Nov-16 13:59:02

Make less effort, try not to feel in any way responsible for her feelings or level of enjoyment.

I do this with an elderly relative. I chat when chat is responded to, I am hospitable without making a fuss and considerate. The rest is up to the guest. I can't make my relative less negative or self-absorbed, nor do I disguise the consequences of those traits being displayed prominently.

roseteapot101 Tue 22-Nov-16 14:07:26

my mother in law to be likes my daughter shes kind enough she just nit picks at everything her poor son my other half expects her to say something negative when he sees her.

She does nice things but its just the nit picky comments.I constantly feel like i am doing something wrong and her son feels afraid to talk to her if he needs help with something.

I just dont know what to make of it and quite frankly Christmas depressing.Both my parents are dead and we cant spend Christmas with my grandmother as shes in america so only family we can spend time with at Christmas is my other half family.

I dont know what advice i can give apart from just smile and try to find something to do so you dont have to speak to them

Thirdload Tue 22-Nov-16 14:12:09

Have you watched the episode of Father Ted called "Entertaining Father Stone"?

Stick it on while she's there grin

SittingDrinkingTea Tue 22-Nov-16 14:12:23

My step father can be a bit like that. I find the best thing to do is to sit him in front of the telly, give him the remote and keep my interactions with him to offering him food and drink at regular intervals. We get on with life around him and he seems quite happy as long as he has some crap to watch.

ChopsticksandChilliCrab Tue 22-Nov-16 14:14:25

I find having a jigsaw started on a table in the sitting room helps, as my quieter relatives like to have something to do and they talk about the jigsaw as they do it. I am not a jigsaw person but I buy two or three 1000 piece ones each Christmas and they always go down well.

SapphireStrange Tue 22-Nov-16 14:14:53

Morris, she sounds like my DP's mum and your strategy sounds like mine!

Sitting, I like your style too.

MaudlinNamechange Tue 22-Nov-16 14:15:15

"My goodness, I would not be having that, she sounds as rude as hell. I know that some people are just not big talkers, but it costs nothing to be polite and courteous. I would tell DH that you are not happy that she is coming round and that you would rather he goes to see her on another day. Tell him that she's rude and impolite and you hate it."

Is this for real?

The MIL does sound like hard work but "Sorry, we aren't having your mother for Christmas because she isn't sufficiently entertaining" seem very extreme to me.

to me, rude is things like "this food is nasty" "you aren't looking very nice today" etc
Sitting still and quiet is just being a still and quiet person. It may feel like a drag but you can limit how much effort you are prepared to keep conversational balls in the air that no one else but you might care about.

she might be thinking "there goes DIL prattling on again".

I think the small talky, charming, asking-personal-questions culture of socialising hasn't been learnt by everyone and people who don't or can't do it aren't necessarily being rude.

golfbuggy Tue 22-Nov-16 14:16:47

I am guessing you are my SIL? grin

I'd just ignore her and focus on the children/other guests.

MTWTFSS Tue 22-Nov-16 14:18:16

This thread makes me very sad. I have Autism. My husband is very understanding but is 10 years older than me so I imagine in the future I will at some point be alone. One of my son's partners will probably have to put up with me sad

FlyingElbows Tue 22-Nov-16 14:19:46

I'm reading this and wondering if anyone else who finds small talk and social interaction difficult is thinking "see, the is why I should stay away from people!"? Some of you sound really unpleasant and unkind which is not invisible btw and doesn't help.

bibbitybobbityyhat Tue 22-Nov-16 14:19:57

My dd has a silent friend grin. I don't know how she can stand it! Luckily she has lots of standard non-stop chatty friends too.

Lol at Entertaining Father Stone grin.

GreedyDuck Tue 22-Nov-16 14:25:45

Is she losing her hearing? My dad can appear a bit detached and uninterested, but it's because he can't hear half the conversation and is too stubborn to get a hearing aid.

MeadowHay Tue 22-Nov-16 14:27:48

Ugh, I wish my MIL like yours OP, shall we swap? Mine's far worse...really nasty woman.

On the plus side, I doubt I will be seeing her this Christmas really given that DH hasn't had any contact with her for about 2 months now. grin (Feel awful but she really is horrible.)

NavyandWhite Tue 22-Nov-16 14:28:05

What does the siblings make of it?

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