Mil & empathy!(13 Posts)
If your DC was ill in hospital for nearly 2 weeks..would you expect their 'doting' GM to call and ask how they were?
This has been bugging me and I don't think DH gets it. We've had a long line of issues with mil..trying to push herself into our lives from the day DD was born. Invited herself to stay for 3 months and turned up unknown to me 3 weeks before I was due (she lives long haul flight away). The stress was horrendous. She does this on the pretence of wanting to help, but of course its not about wanting to help, it's about her wanting to be seen as the doting gran. So when I had to go into hospital when DD was 2 weeks old..she didn't stick around and help out at home with my other child etc..she buggered off to Europe for a break as there was no point if baby wasn't there..and reappeared as soon as we were home. I was trying to bf but she wanted to bottle feed..thought I should share the load and was only making a rod for my own back. Manipulative & controlling and pretends to be warm but is immensely chillingly cold.
In short, I've always noticed that she appears to lack empathy. She tries to portray herself as some amazing matriarch..and that includes trying to control her adult brood and their offspring. Rings constantly about my Sils who she practically lives with and talks about nothing else. Ours lives seem insignificant somehow. My last pregnancy ended in a late miscarriage and I gave birth in a horrendous experience, and lost so much blood I had to be resuscitated by a crash team. It was a terrible time. But she has never shown any genuine sympathy. Her comment was..she has been there too. She had a miscarriage at 6 weeks before her kids were born. Having had 4 miscarriages before 12 weeks, I think anyone who has given birth to a baby they have lost, knows it just cannot compare. She bragged to all her friends about her new GC on the way..and then pretended it never happened when we lost him. Unbelievably, the week I was due, they excitedly rang to ask if we could buy some baby clothes for his sister who was 10 weeks pregnant. I was speechless.
And with my youngest DD, she has a condition which means she is often ill, and has been in and out of hospital a lot. This recent stay she had emailed wanting to know if we could send her some pictures of a recent family gathering she wanted to show her bridge friends. I replied that we were at hospital with DD and how poorly she was. I had no reply..DH had no text no call..nothing to ever ask how she was. Not once in the whole time she was in hospital. Aibu to think this is odd? DH called her the weekend after we got home..and her first words were about his sisters and what they were up to..then it's a oh yes how is dd..heard she wasn't well. Must be so worrying for you...and every time she says that phrase..in her queens English robot voice it's just so cold and lacking in empathy I want to scream. It really bothers me that somebody can be seem so indifferent about their own grandchild, and what goes on in their son's life. I just can't fathom it.
She sounds like a heartless cow
Unfortunately my MIL has similar traits- ds was quite unwell when he arrived and all she was concerned about was whether he would be "brain damaged" - didn't bother visiting, couldn't be arsed to even find out how we all were.
At the end of the day it's her loss. I would suggest limiting her visits as much as you can though.
What is your DH's take on all this?
Not BU at all, it is very odd. What does DH say?
He just shrugs it off..when I asked didn't he think her lack of contact/concern was odd..he answered..maybe!
I just find it so odd how somebody can be so overbearingly intrusive on the one hand (i.e with visits etc) yet so indifferent to what is happening in our lives on the other.
I honestly think she tries to portray the perfect family picture to people she knows. She was always the executive wife if you know what I mean! For instance..when DD was first born, she asked if I would bring her with them to visit some old colleague friends of theirs who lived 2 hours drive away. I've never met these people! When I refused, she looked like her jaw would break, then fil had a word with DH to say I was upsetting her..would I have a heart and change my mind. I had stitches..trying to BF and was already ill with an infection I didn't know at the time..so I was like WTF?! I mean..it was literally like she wanted to show off??
So perhaps sick kids and miscarriages just don't feature in the perfect picture she wants to portray..
She either isn't cut out for, or is not interested in, reality. Being a real family is taking the rough with the smooth, through good times and bad. But some people are only interested in glossy good times and showing off/bragging.
When (now) dh and I went on holiday for the first time (I was 18, him 23), his mother and grandmother told everyone they met- from friends to strangers at bus stops It's all attention seeking and giving them something to brag about.
Are you able to cut the visits down, or at least get her to stay in a hotel?
If she does "have" to stay with you, could you escape to friends/family, especially if her visit is unannounced?
Unfortunately not ohfour. My parents are long passed and have no family nearby to take refuge! Anyway, with kids to get to school and the usual family routines to maintain, it certainly wouldn't be an option for me to move out of my own home to accommodate her! Although I'm sure she'd probably like that very much
Having said that, having put my foot down on the last visit...she came twice last year..first time completely unknown to me. Caused huge ructions! Term time too..it suited her travel plans..naturally. 2nd time she announced she was coming I put my foot down and she had to spend most of it with her family elsewhere. Has sisters & brothers not too far from us. She wasn't happy, but we'd already made it clear it wasn't a good time, and she booked it anyway. It's what she does.
But it's the lack of empathy that bothers me most. I guess if she had the ability to feel empathy, she would not do the things she does.
Id go NC to be honest, she sounds awful.
Why did your dh allow her to stay if it caused you so much stress? Is she from a different culture to you where mils are treated differently?
DH has terrible problems with communication & emotional connection. It has required a lot of effort over the years. Prior to us getting together in our late 30s (my 2nd marriage his 1st) she had free rein to come and go as she pleased. He had a long term gf but never lived with anyone else before. She assumed she could continue as she liked and he was obviously too long in the tooth to rock the boat. I was shocked by it tbh..and shocked they assumed it was normal! And no it's not a cultural expectation, she is very much old English..speech plums and all!
She does sound like a total cow, I must say - although actually, the not calling when your DD is in hospital actually sounded like the least of her crimes in comparison with some of her other behaviour. I'm pretty sure most grandparents would certainly express concern and ask how things were ... the only tiny excuse I can think of is that if your DD is frequently in and out of hospital, maybe she thought it was just a routine thing and didn't register how ill she was? But even if that were the case, your average grandparent would still be at least manage a 'And how is poor DD feeling now?', surely?!
If she's of a certain age she might not want to talk about her GC being sick or your miscarriages, she might have awful memories of kids dying or relatives miscarrying baby after baby. My mil lost two baby sisters to the flu (only recently admitted to it) and so never acknowledges when her GC are sick but in reality she's so stressed about it she can barely function. Same with miscarriages - she has clear memories of a cousin's repeated still births and late miscarriages & just doesn't want to talk about them when someone she cares about has one. If you don't know your mil it's unreasonable to assume she's doing all this to he rude
Yeah, my mum is like this. It sucks. I've found it's best not to rely on her for anything: emotional support, practical help, or empathy. In fact I tell her as little as I can about my life because it lessens the feelings of anger and hurt when she behaves like this again and again.
The stuff about wanting photos to show off, and wanting to be seen as the doting gran, also hit a familiar note with me. I think my mother is a narcissist and only cares about us so far as we can be used to make her look or feel good. So the further we appear from the perfect family which she can brag to her friends about, the less interested she is in us. My sister 'dared' to get divorced and my mum gave her absolute hell over it - at a time when god knows, she needed a little love. Makes me so bloody angry.
I'm really sorry that you have had the loss of a pregnancy and your dd's ill health to deal with, alongside this lack of support.
Thank you whoknows..I too feel more and more reluctant to share any aspect of our lives with her.
And while I know what you mean DailyFail..that is absolutely not the case. She has never encountered any loss like that. With her or her siblings. And in any case, that shouldn't excuse any basic showing of some human empathy and concern. I lost two siblings when they were children, my poor mother bore more tragedy in her relatively short life than most. She lost her father as a child, and also lost two of her brothers when they were young. Then she herself was plagued with ill health and we were lucky to have her beyond my teens when she first had cancer. We always lived on borrowed time with her. But in all that time she was the most kind compassionate empathetic person I have ever known, and would have made a fantastic grandma to my dc
And thanks dollydaydream..I also did think about that, which is why I was wondering how 'normal' it seemed to others. But given that she is only ever admitted to hospital when she is very ill..and remembering how my sister's in laws reacted to her little boy being ill a couple of times..to me I just think it's odd. She rang three days in a row and left messages on our answerphone because she desperately wanted the pics to show off..and then not a peek or a reply when she realised what was going on?!
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