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Feel bad for for MIL :-(

(71 Posts)
joojoobean99 Mon 10-Jul-17 19:47:34

My MIL was a SAHM for a large part of her life, and when her kids got old enough she worked part time just to give herself a tiny bit of spending money each month (she could never work full time as there are big age gaps between her DCs so she always had a small child to look after). FIL had a VERY well paid job and has always paid mortgage and bills.

My issue is that they are both now in their 70's and retired, yet FIL is INCREDIBLY tight with HIS money (he thinks of it as 'his' as he was the one that earned it, and not 'joint', despite the fact she was at home raising 4 kids which is a job in itself!) so MIL has nothing to spend on herself at all. Yes her basic needs are met as he pays for a small grocery shop each week and covers the utilities, but my DH has to pay for her mobile phone as otherwise she would not be able to have one, and we also try to treat her to something nice on birthdays and Christmas because otherwise she would never have new clothes, slippers, basically treats that people normally take for granted.

MIL seems to suffer a bit with depression also, although we haven't spoken about this openly, and I think having a tiny bit of money to treat herself with each month would really cheer her up, even if it was just enough to go out for a few lunches with friends. AIBU that it makes me really angry that FIL has got stacks of cash in the bank, yet we seem to be the ones that have to treat her to meals out, etc because she gets so down about not being able to do anything? DH said not to let it get to me as it's always been that way with them, but it just seems really unfair. Is it really that normal to have a relationship where one of you has so much control over the finances? Luckily for me DH hasn't inherited FILs traits and is very generous, but it makes me sad to see MIL spend her retirement sitting indoors all day because she can't afford to go out.

Aquamarine1029 Mon 10-Jul-17 19:51:31

Could your husband speak to your FIL about this? I feel horribly for your MIL, too. How awful. She's treated like a child or an indentured servant. No wonder she's depressed.

Whatsername17 Mon 10-Jul-17 19:53:08

Does she get a state pension?

Justhadmyhaircut Mon 10-Jul-17 19:55:09

Financial abuse is ground for divorce these days - what a bastard
She should backdate years of childcare /cleaning /invoices. .
Your dh should tell him he is behaving like a twat to his dm. .

NoArmaniNoPunani Mon 10-Jul-17 19:55:56

My father in law is the same, loads of money in the bank and tight as arseholes

joojoobean99 Mon 10-Jul-17 19:56:49

DH has spoken to FIL numerous times about this in the past but he's incredibly stubborn and won't budge. I would've thought that FIL would've felt guilty seeing his son have to pay for things for his mum, but it doesn't affect him at all.

I just can't imagine how frustrating it would be knowing that your DH had loads of money stashed away but you're having to scrape together every penny you've got just to get a haircut, for example. She is becoming quite bitter and I don't really blame her. :-(

rollonthesummer Mon 10-Jul-17 19:58:43

What a truly horrible way to live sad

joojoobean99 Mon 10-Jul-17 19:59:46

Whatsername17 She does get state pension which she saves all year so she can go on a caravan holiday with her friend once a year, but other than that she has nothing else to look forward to. I don't know what to do about it. I'm quite a blunt person and have spoken my thoughts to FIL a few times but he has selective hearing and pretends to be deaf (so annoying!).

It annoys me because we have a baby on the way and my parents have bought us a few bits and I know MIL feels bad cos she can't afford to buy us anything.

Aquamarine1029 Mon 10-Jul-17 19:59:46

I would be absolutely sick about this and furious with him. I wouldn't blame you if you said something to him. Someone needs to advocate for that poor woman.

VulvalHeadMistress Mon 10-Jul-17 19:59:49

Have you tried shaming him?

Seriously, just confronting him with his skinflintedness, and the fact that he is leaving her short.

His salary was absolutely dependent on her doing his share of bringing up their children, and he thinks it's OK to treat her like that. Make him defend it, in public if possible, the miser.

VulvalHeadMistress Mon 10-Jul-17 20:00:22

Does you DH have any sisters?

Pollydonia Mon 10-Jul-17 20:00:26

She should leave him and get her fair share. What a miserly twat.

Justhadmyhaircut Mon 10-Jul-17 20:01:25

I would be inviting mil only over to see the baby and start going lc if not nc with him. .
Not the sort of gf I would want for my dc.

Doobeedoobeedoo17 Mon 10-Jul-17 20:02:07

She should leave. Sounds like he's a miserable bastard and a court would force him to give her her share

RunRabbitRunRabbit Mon 10-Jul-17 20:05:11

She could divorce him and get half of it. Sadly, like all abusive relationships, you can't make her do what is obvious to you, nor can you make the abuser stop being abusive, no matter how much you want it to be different.

If she chooses to stay and live like this that is her choice as an adult. It is unlikely that your FIL will stop being abusive now.

I know that isn't what you want to hear. You want the magic bullet to stop the abuse. It doesn't exist. Feels shit, right?

joojoobean99 Mon 10-Jul-17 20:08:23

DH has one sister that lives far away but doesn't really do much for MIL, tbh. I spent the first few years of my and DHs relationship telling FIL that financials should be equal in a relationship, but it never made a difference. He is just too stubborn.

I'm going to be a SAHM when DD is born, and I'm hoping that FIL will see that DH still looks after me financially even though I'm not earning. Might make him think about his behaviour.

Oh, and he's just bought himself a brand new car (it was a shock, literally the only thing I've ever seen him spend money on!) but there's no mention of MIL being able to treat herself like that.

joojoobean99 Mon 10-Jul-17 20:10:54

RunRabbitRunRabbit Yeah it is shit. She will never leave him because she couldn't cope on her own. Plus they lost one of their children as a teenager in a car accident and I think that will always keep them together, having been through that traumatic experience together (ive no doubt this contributes to MILs depression) :-(

Squishedstrawberry4 Mon 10-Jul-17 20:11:13

Maybe joke about his tightness in front of his peers and extended family. There's nothing like a bit of embarrassment to help someone understand the weight of their actions.

mummarichardson Mon 10-Jul-17 20:12:13

Does she do everything round the house still? Can she go on strike until she gets a decent wage as such?

lunaysol3828 Mon 10-Jul-17 20:13:33

That man needs to be shamed by all the family, you, your DH, any other close relatives perhaps. This is unacceptable as she indeed worked all her life and raised 4 children mainly by herself. She is obviously not asking for luxury but basic necessities such as clothes.

youhavetobekidding Mon 10-Jul-17 20:14:05

I spent the first few years of my and DHs relationship telling FIL that financials should be equal in a relationship I'm not sure it was your place to do that, but I do feel for your MIL. What would happen if you stopped buying stuff for her?

SaveMeBarry Mon 10-Jul-17 20:15:18

Squish that's tempting but could really embarrass MIL and only make her less likely to confide in anyone for support.

RunRabbitRunRabbit Mon 10-Jul-17 20:17:40

You are trying to make an abusive person be not abusive. That's only going to tie you up in knots.

You seem to want to believe it is all a big misunderstanding. You are pretending it is normal: he is tight, he is stubborn. No, he is a classic abusive husband. This is not mild. This is not being tight, as you've described it. It is pretty serious financial abuse and control.

He is not your father. She is not your mother. Step back. You can't save them. Talk to your DH. Ask his advice. He grew up in an abusive household. He knows more about this than you.

Nospringflower Mon 10-Jul-17 20:17:49

I think if you cant change him or her, can you treat her as much as possible eg pay for her caravan holiday. Even if its not right at least she will benefit?

joojoobean99 Mon 10-Jul-17 20:18:57

Youhavetobekidding Actually, I felt like it was my place to say seeing as we were the ones paying for her "luxuries" (not that I would call having a phone and clothes a luxury), so it affects our finances too.

If we stopped buying her stuff she would just end up going without, which I have no doubt would make her even more depressed.

She won't talk to him about it anymore as she knows there's no point. She seems almost beaten down by it, and it makes me so sad that someone would spend their time feeling like this.

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