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To be a bit put out by MIL party behaviour?

(51 Posts)
grannysmiff Sun 29-Oct-17 16:09:25

The context is my DP lost his dad 10 months ago. Obviously his mother is finding it difficult. DP has lunch at hers pretty much every day. They are a very close-knit family.

There was a massive family do last night and MIL was teary throughout. She was a little short with me that night and as well as that when I arrived she called over to me "you look awful". Actually I looked fantastic if you dont mind me saying so, and DP's cousin laughed and said "shes only kidding, she said just before you look beautiful".
Then at one point she was sitting with DP and a friend, and I wandered over (having been mingling away from DP for over an hour) and she put her hand on his arm and shouted "No! Don't take him away from me!"

I totally understand how this is all related to her grieving but I guess I just wanted a bit of reassurance, AIBU to feel a little put out? I leave DP to spend as much time as he wants and needs with family, he sees them every day, when he wants me there (like last night), I go. Both things she said in a kind of jesting way but - I dont know. Any thoughts or insights? I dont want my relationship with her to veer off into some weirdy territory.

FenceSitter01 Sun 29-Oct-17 16:13:06

How old is she?

I only ask as when DHs DF passed away, DGMother was convinced her son had been her husband - that's when the dementia really kicked in.

Fishface77 Sun 29-Oct-17 16:13:51

Was she like this before her DH died?
She sounds awful to be honest and while I would excuse certain behaviour there's no way I would let her try to embarrass me like she tried with you!
And DP has lunch at hers every day?? Fuck that. She will take over your life and if you have kids she will take over theirs too!

grannysmiff Sun 29-Oct-17 16:18:33

She's 64, she's always had a soft spot for him, he's the youngest and the only boy.

I'm pretty relaxed so I just took it in my stride, felt a mild pang of irritation and wont be mentioning it to DP unless something like it happens again.

I'm happy to forgive this as it was her grandson's 18th so clearly she was just saddened by the fact that her husband wasnt there for this joyous moment.

But also underneath is a harder nugget within me thinking "watch it lady!" :-D

I suppose I was just coming to MN with this to assess how much lenience or empathy you would give in this kind of sitiation.

Its a fine line between showing understanding but also respecting yourself.

Appuskidu Sun 29-Oct-17 16:20:50

She sounds most odd!

What did your DH say when she was saying these strange things?

Awwlookatmybabyspider Sun 29-Oct-17 16:24:13

Well if you know you looked fantastic I wouldn't let it bother you.
Mind you though its a rude thing to say nonetheless. How did she know you didn't feel awful, and then she has the audacity to say you "look "awful'
We've all dealt with greif but that's not a free ticket to be rude and insult people.

milliemolliemou Sun 29-Oct-17 16:28:06

I'd talk it over with your DH. How can he go around for lunch every day? did he do this before his DF died? How many other children does she have?

My DM loved my DF to the ends of the earth, but when he died (a great deal earlier than your MIL's) she cracked on with her own job and made her own life. All her DC were close and we saw her as often as we could but it wasn't love on demand. A close and loving family don't have to be suffocating. It sounds as if your MIL was over-emotional in every sense of the word at the party.

VladmirsPoutine Sun 29-Oct-17 16:32:09

I think you need to chalk it up to grief.

Men don't suddenly stop being their mother's boy as soon as they find a wife or girlfriend. And a lot of women would do well to understand that.

grannysmiff Sun 29-Oct-17 16:32:37

@Appuskidu He wasnt there for the first comment, and as for the second, I didnt clock his reaction but he didnt say anything, probably because of tje "jesting" tone.

Exactly, thank fuck I'm fairly confident.

I think I'll wait and see if something happens again before talking to DP about it. His dad was very ill for years before he passed so he was very present before he died.
MIL hasnt worked and essentially her family is her life. They're all very local and yes, IMO suffocating, very different from my own family where we love each other but are very independent and geographically scattered. I think her issue as a result may be that as well as the loss of her partner, shes experiencing loss of identity if you get me.

Ragwort Sun 29-Oct-17 16:44:18

I think she sounds incredibly needy, I am nearly her age, with an only DS, I can't imagine behaving like that ............ do you live with your DP, how long have you been together? If I were you I would be wary of getting too involved.

Bluetrews25 Sun 29-Oct-17 16:47:50

Yes, loss of identity, yes loss of partner..... but she needs to find new interests and outlets and stop using your DH as a partner substitute.
Can you start taking her / send her to WI, national trust groups, U3A, church groups etc. Can she volunteer at a charity shop or something like that? She needs to start looking OUT not in for her support and to keep her occupied. It's not early days any more, at nearly a year.
I am sympathetic, and think you are amazing in not taking offence where many others would. But she needs to get on with things herself now. She could be around for many more years, and you might not like her taking so much of YOUR DH for another 15-20 years!

milliemolliemou Sun 29-Oct-17 16:49:26

Vladimirs OP has explained that her MIL was an SAHM who built her whole life round her family and had to deal with the long loss of her husband and OP is appreciative of that.

And her DH visits her MIL every day.

Parents need to realize their children will leave. They don't own their children and should encourage them to move on. Demanding mothers or mother in laws (ditto fathers etc) don't earn themselves the willing love that relaxed loving gives and cause problems.

Clearly there are some children whose spouses are disruptive and mean, but this is about a MIL who seems to be suffocating - and potentially causing problems for her son and DIL which she may regret.

Read your DH Lawrence!

Aintgotnosoapbox Sun 29-Oct-17 16:53:47

I think this sounds difficult. Our relationship with our parents is lifelong, and the most fundamental in our lives overall. I think she is being needy, but I think it's understandable in the context of grief. She sounds a bit lost , and she does need support. Would cruse or other counselling, help?

underkerstumbled Sun 29-Oct-17 16:55:16

Some people deal far less well with grief than others - especially on 'significant' occasions - for the first couple of years. She's clearly struggling, and that's probably what caused her to behave like that.

AlternativeTentacle Sun 29-Oct-17 16:58:58

You sound a bit like hard work to be honest.

grannysmiff Sun 29-Oct-17 17:01:00

Thanks for all these different views, and Vlad, I completely get that which is why I would never stand in the way of him being an active part of his very close family - as I said he sees them all literally every day, and its not even that I have to fight against myself to be happy about it. I am totally cool with it and even see it as another thing I love him for.

What I DONT want to happen is for some strange dynamic to tale seed between me and MIL. I think there is an unspoken contract here: I allow as much family time as they all need, in return she needs to be respectful of our relationship. Im thinking ahead to try and make sure she upholds her end of this social contract.

I do also feel that at nearly a year on, MIL needs to be rebuilding herself but I know grief is different for everyone. Twice now I have talked to DP about how I strongly feel she needs to be looking to charity work or something to reassert her role in tje world, but he doesnt want to push her. Thats fine, they can handle her grief however they want - I just dont want to feel disrespected again.

grannysmiff Sun 29-Oct-17 17:03:34

I dont think I am in the slightest. I was friendly and warm to MIL all night, and havent talked to DP about it. Just unleashing my thoughts on MN as you do.

User02 Sun 29-Oct-17 17:04:52

In some ways I can understand that MIL is feeling "unattached" now that her DH has died, but I dont think her behaviour is acceptable.
I wonder if this is the first big event the family have celebrated since DFIL passed? She had plenty of relatives around at that particular moment and should not have been so needy.
It is very hard to know what to do next after she has cared for DFIL for a long time. She may be feeling a bit lost and alone but this is not the way she should be expressing this.
OP you have done well not to be a bit more firm with her.
It is lonely but she should mind how she expresses her isolation and distress after such a loss.

Butterymuffin Sun 29-Oct-17 17:06:12

The problem with your DH going for lunch every day is that it will be very difficult when he wants to break that pattern, which surely he will eventually. I would think about scaling down to something like 3 times a week (Mon-Wed-Fri) to at least prepare her for that.
Re the party behaviour, I would try and overlook that as it was clearly an emotional evening. I would though focus more on how you're going to manage her long term.

allinclusive Sun 29-Oct-17 17:06:50

My MIL was similar when FIL passed. For a good 18 months I had to park up outside her house and tell myself to be miserable and to remember that she is grieving and it's going to be all about her. If you can't feel sympathy, then fake it. Everybody grieves differently and she is entitled to be miserable. I do agree that she shouldn't have been rude to you, but I had to make big allowances when my MIL took it out on me hence why I just kept out of the way as much as I could.

AlternativeTentacle Sun 29-Oct-17 17:14:15

I dont think I am in the slightest. I was friendly and warm to MIL all night, and havent talked to DP about it. Just unleashing my thoughts on MN as you do.

I think you perhaps are more hard work than the person you called hard work, when they are diagnosed with a disability and having troubles with their lecturer at uni. Just unleashing my thoughts as you do.

grannysmiff Sun 29-Oct-17 17:15:45

Yes, not only was it the first big family affair since FIL died, it was also the fact that every adult there was part of a couple. She was the only person there "alone". I made sure to go and sit with her whenever I saw her alone but at one point I sensed I was vaguely irritating her and she was welling up again so I went and told DP to go and be with her.

I think I'm just going to leave it but if I get comments in a similar vein next time I see her I will feel entitled to kindly but firmly put her in her place. I like her as a person and I'm fairly sure this will pass.

Draylon Sun 29-Oct-17 17:18:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

grannysmiff Sun 29-Oct-17 17:18:10

Stalker alert

AlternativeTentacle Sun 29-Oct-17 17:18:42

Stalker alert

Not a stalker just have a memory of more than 10 seconds...

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