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To think this is suffocating and weird

(98 Posts)
Everyoneafter3 Sat 01-Apr-17 13:46:10

We (me and dh) are in our late 30s. We both have responsible jobs, own our home, run two cars, minimal debts etc. In other words, we are functioning adults.

Whatever we do, wherever we go, MIL wants to know that we are safe. We're on holiday and MIL was very stressed about us travelling, are we safe etc. We live in the nw and are currently in the Lakes.

Dh works in environmental health and whenever there is any sort environmental health issue reported by the local media she'll start sending frantic messages hoping that dh is safe. Dh is a keen runner and she wants to buy dh a phone to take with him so he's safe while running. He has a phone! We don't even tell her I run...

On the rare occasion dh might go into the city centre for a night out of even work she gets very worried and makes a big fuss about needing to pick him up, buses aren't safe etc.

It's absolutely ridiculous. Unfortunately she acts this way with our dc and it's driving them crackers too.

Crispsheets Sat 01-Apr-17 13:47:36

Completely OTT.
Don't tell her your plans.

Everyoneafter3 Sat 01-Apr-17 13:49:52

We only tell her the minimum as it is!

PinkFlamingo545 Sat 01-Apr-17 13:49:59

It sounds as if she has some kind of Anxiety disorder

I don't think she is doing it to be a pain, I don't think it is about YOU two , it's about her and her mental health. She does need to realise she cannot hold her sons hand for the rest of his life - and as his partner it must be very off putting to have his mother SO involved in his life

I would not like to be inside your MIL head

Everyoneafter3 Sat 01-Apr-17 13:53:16

I'm sure she does suffer from anxiety.

Dh and I have been married for 11 teas and together for 15 so it's not like he's only recently left mummy!

Everyoneafter3 Sat 01-Apr-17 13:53:44

Years even, not teas.

originalbiglymavis Sat 01-Apr-17 13:54:46

I'd keep her in the dark about things that might start her off.

How old is she? She is just being very very very cautious and I'm sure she's not doing it deliberately to be a nuisance.

Sounds very tiring! Does she have much else going on? I suspect a daily mail app is on the picture somewhere! Grit teeth, nod and smile. She probably won't change and you don't want her having a stroke.

ShowMePotatoSalad Sat 01-Apr-17 13:56:55

She sounds OTT but in fairness you don't suddenly stop worrying about your kid because they're an adult. I think her constant need for reassurance is a problem though. It sounds like she hasn't got coping mechanisms for dealing with worry, and then it just escalates meaning she relies on you telling her you're both fine.

Everyoneafter3 Sat 01-Apr-17 13:57:31

She's 67.

And that's another thing: despite being in good health she keeps going on and on about how she's an old woman now, can't go anywhere. My df is nearly 90 and doesn't take that attitude!

peachgreen Sat 01-Apr-17 13:58:02

Yes I agree with Pink. I have an anxiety disorder (part of PTSD) and it often manifests in intense paranoia about the safety of my husband. A combo of therapy and a very loving, patient DH who is willing to support me completely has massively helped. E.g. if he travels with work he tells me when he'll arrive and lets me know he's got there safe, because it's not unreasonable for someone to want to know someone is okay after travelling, but then I deal with my anxiety for the time that he's there because once he's arrived safely it's reasonable to assume that he's okay unless I hear otherwise. It's helped tremendously.

In a similar way, you need to differentiate your MIL's behaviour. She is being unreasonable in some aspects but in others she's not - I don't think it's unreasonable for her to want a wee text every now and again when you're on holiday so she knows you're okay, but it is unreasonable of her to expect your DH not to get a bus!

It would be worth broaching the topic with her and seeing if she'll get some professional help - I bet she'd benefit from some CBT, for example.

PinkFlamingo545 Sat 01-Apr-17 13:58:11

I'm sure she does suffer from anxiety

I understand that you are frustrated - I would be too.

However unless you have had severe anxiety you have no idea of the living hell she could be in. The complete paralysing fear that something bad is going to happen the gut churning, panic attacks and all she wants to know if you are all OK

Try and be a bit more sympathetic - all she needs is reassurance and she will back off (until next time)

How about, next time she sends frantic texts, you just text back 'we are fine thanks x' - then its over - instead of this upset.

I would , as you do, try and give her less to be anxious about. Your partner doesn't need to tell his mum that he is going into town for a night out for example - just keep these things quiet as they are clearly massive triggers for her, and if you avoid responding to her when she texts it will just make her worse

MrsExpo Sat 01-Apr-17 13:58:13

I seriously think you need to talk to her about this (gently!) and suggest she might be over anxious and should try to get some help to bring some perspective into her life. Is she alone? My own mother was a bit like this - but not as extreme as you describe with your MiL - and definitely got worse after my DF died. If we went to visit her (about 12 miles away) she'd get us to call her when we arrived home "safe". It's stifling but I'm sure she's not doing it to deliberately p''' you off.

Everyoneafter3 Sat 01-Apr-17 14:00:31

Oh I know you don't stop worrying about your dc. She's no cause for concern though: good jobs, lovely house in good area, dc go to a good school and are happy and healthy. We're healthy, too.

BertrandRussell Sat 01-Apr-17 14:00:52

Is there a reason you don't want to just humour her? Quick text saying that you're safe home when you get there?

Surely quicker and less stressful than trying to change her?

Everyoneafter3 Sat 01-Apr-17 14:02:16

Actually I do suffer from anxiety. I know exactly how hard it is.

She lives with my SIL and dn.

PinkFlamingo545 Sat 01-Apr-17 14:03:54

Everyoneafter3 - I'm sure she realises that you are all fine - but it sounds as ifmanifests itself as a distrust of other people + situations, as in why she wants to collect your partner after a night out in town - because she is worried about an attack etc, these things are unpredictable and unless you overthink and let things spiral out of control, most people don't dwell on the 'what ifs'

it's not a healthy state of mind by any means, I'm just explaining the mind set of a person with severe anxiety

PinkFlamingo545 Sat 01-Apr-17 14:05:27

Actually I do suffer from anxiety. I know exactly how hard it is

You do seem to be showing a lack of insight into the condition considering you now tell us you suffer from Anxiety yourself

originalbiglymavis Sat 01-Apr-17 14:06:23

I think you can get to the point of digging your heels at the daftness of it, but a quick text before you set off, one on the road and one where you get somewhere.

This will put her mind at rest and you won't have to worry about getting home and finding csi digging up your back yard.

Not calling or texting won't stop her fretting, and you can't 'train' her not to worry. Some people are just very anxious and get more fretful as they get older.

StickyWick Sat 01-Apr-17 14:13:45

Is find that really annoying and suffocating too. I understand that she might not be able to help herself but even so it's not ok. I think it's up to your DH to deal with it though - does she text you too? If so then I'd probably not bother answering. My Mum could do this if I let her. She is anxious but I've just refused to do more than I want to. We get on brilliantly and I think it's easier for me to handle as she is my mum and I can be honest with her if she gets too much.

I very much doubt your MILs constant texting is going to make her less anxious so I think you could argue that it's not worth pandering to her IYSWIM

I'm joking 😜 but how about getting a phone with a find my friends feature set up and letting her track your DHs whereabouts. It would keep her busy and might stop the constant texts....probably not a good idea though.

BertrandRussell Sat 01-Apr-17 14:22:58

I suppose it depends on how often it is.

happy2bhomely Sat 01-Apr-17 14:24:00

Sometimes people who have anxiety can be quite unsympathetic to fellow sufferers. I know I can be quite short with my SIL even though we are quite similar.

I think I do it in an attempt to prove that I'm not as 'bad' as she is. It makes me feel like I've got control over mine and all she needs to do is control hers.

I have to believe it's controllable. It's too scary to acknowledge that I'm at the mercy of it.

Be kind to MIL. Just a text when you arrive home safely, but no more.

fatowl Sat 01-Apr-17 14:25:03

My late MIL was like this.
Dh travels a lot for work (at least three return flights month) and insisted on having his flight numbers every single time, as well as the places he was staying (I didn't know half the time - bad wife!)

We stopped telling her plans a lot of the time, but then she would phone and I'd have to say DH was away, cue "why on earth didn't I know he was flying"

It was suffocating.
SHe was the same as the DDs got older- esp when I started letting them go out alone. I remember a particular time we had a shopping day at a nearby town, (Me, the DDs and MIL), we'd stopped for coffee and DD1&2 (then 15 and 12) wanted to go to a nearby shop while we were sat, I said fine, MIL almost had a fit thinking they would be "Kidnapped by anyone"- on a High Street on a bust Saturday afternoon.
Another time, all 3 dds were invited to the cinema with my sister and her kids, she said I could drop them with the money for tickets and popcorn, no need for me stay. DDs were 16. 12 and 8. SHe said my sister couldn't possibly "manage"them all as well as her 6 and 4 year old, so she would go with them. Bonkers. (My sister put her foot down fortunately and pointed out she'd invited DD16 to "help")

There was definitely an anxiety issue.

Rattysparklebum Sat 01-Apr-17 14:25:37

My MIL used to be like this, it wasn't anxiety she just wanted to be involved in our lives, when we used to go abroad on holiday she would phone the hotel we were staying at for a chat and to make sure we were having a nice time 😕. We have managed to distance ourselves a bit but unfortunately DSIL gets most of the hassle now.

ShowMePotatoSalad Sat 01-Apr-17 14:26:52

If she does have an anxiety disorder, you know it's not her fault don't you? And she's not doing it to be difficult. Also it doesn't matter if there are no causes for the concern - that's not how anxiety disorder works.

I think a bit of empathy and understanding wouldn't go amiss.

bigmac4me Sat 01-Apr-17 14:29:16

Oh dear, this is me. I can never quite relax until I know all my aged 20 something children are safe. They always give me a quick message to say "arrived safely" or "home now" and I never realised this could be such a major issue for them. They've always done it (thankfully). Oops.

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