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To no longer tell MIL about DDs medical issue

(55 Posts)
flothatchicken Fri 15-Mar-19 10:18:36

DD is 2 and has a medical issue that we are hoping surgery will resolve in a couple of months time. But we don't know what the outcome of that will be and it could lead to much more surgical and non surgical intervention.

We live in a small town, a place where everyone knows everyone's business which is something I've always disliked about the area. MIL is a bit of a gossip in all honesty and will constantly be saying "don't tell them that I told you but blah blah blah". I've told her that I don't want to know if they've asked her to keep it to herself but she doesn't see a problem with it.

I've found out from bumping into someone that she has told them all about DDs medical issue after we've told her so many times to keep it to herself, it's not nice for DD to have everyone know her private business especially if we stay in the same town when she's a teen/adult etc. She obviously hasn't listened and this isn't the first time she's done this. We've asked her several times not to.

I've told DH that's it, she's made this issue herself and she's no longer to be told about anything to do with DDs medical info. Positive or negative. She can't be trusted and I want DD's private information to be respected.

He is in agreement but admitted it is an awkward situation, which I agree with. I'm worried I might be projecting because I was mercilessly bullied as a teen because of a medical issue that my mum told everyone she bloody met about. The issue was no longer present but bullies can be horrible and I was reminded of it constantly.


foxsbiscuit Fri 15-Mar-19 10:21:06

You are absolutely right. Don't tell her anything and tell her why. She should be ashamed of herself.

Ohyesiam Fri 15-Mar-19 10:26:19

I’m completely on your side here. I am a medical professional so have really good confidentiality, I just don’t get it when people endlessly question others about their health, and then pass the info on.

And I don’t think it’s that awkward, I think I’d be quite happy to say to your mother-in-law she’s not getting any more information because her confidentiality is so shockingly bad.

You’re right here op , stick to your guns

BlueMerchant Fri 15-Mar-19 10:27:41

She doesn't have the right to know. I wouldn't mention when did has appointments and if she finds out and asks then be vague and answer with an 'ok thanks' and repeat 'ok thanks ' if she tries to dig for more information.Your oh needs to stick to these words too.
It's likely she will realize that word has got back to you that she's been talking about DD.
If she asks you why you are not telling her things then I'd just be honest and tell her how it's private and you can't trust her to respect your dds privacy.

DianaPrincessOfThemyscira Fri 15-Mar-19 10:27:58

100% agree. There are things I can’t get worked up about but it’s really unfair to talk about medical issues, especially when you’ve been asked not to.

Sicario Fri 15-Mar-19 10:28:29

I think you're right too. My sister is like this, unable to hold water, never mind something confidential. I don't tell her anything any more, because if I do I might as well take out a full page ad in the newspaper.

MulticolourMophead Fri 15-Mar-19 10:28:56

I agree you are right to keep the information from her, she doesn't have an automatic right to know.

And I don't think you are projecting. Kids haven't changed that much, they'll still gossip about stuff.

TidyDancer Fri 15-Mar-19 10:29:20

I agree OP. And I would definitely tell her why too. It's unfair for her to say anything you've asked her not to.

Tinty Fri 15-Mar-19 10:46:25

You are definitely right, don't tell her anything.

I don't tell my own mum anything at all because she tells THE WHOLE WORLD everything.

My mum is lovely but just loves talking and couldn't keep something private if she was paid a million pounds.

I am the other way, I don't tell anyone things people tell me, not even my partner.

MarieIVanArkleStinks Fri 15-Mar-19 10:49:52

No, YADNBU. Small-minded, petty gossips really irritate me. I don't listen and I don't indulge (actually, this stuff is really very boring).

Shared DNA doesn't give her an automatic right to be given this information. Put her on an information diet, and grey rock her to the hilt. And if she's that bad, it might be worth having a word with your GP surgery to ensure she can't call asking for information from them, either. Ask if they'll set you up a password, without which they are not to divulge information. That ought to clip her wings!

I'm sorry you are having to deal with this, and wish your DD all good future health.

NewFoneWhoDis Fri 15-Mar-19 10:53:02

This is my mother. Her version of keeping a secret is telling everyone "don't tell NewFone I told you this but..."

So she gets to hear fuck all. She thinks I've a terribly boring life and I only tell her stuff that's mundane. If there's something ongoing that she enquires about such as a medical issue she gets told that there's no update and when there is, we will let her know. and then we don't

Leeds2 Fri 15-Mar-19 10:53:26

YANBU at all. But makes sure that DH is in complete agreement, as he may be more likely to give in if MIL pressurizes him for information.

AnnaMagnani Fri 15-Mar-19 10:55:59

Oh, don't tell her. If she can't be supportive, what's the point in sharing with her?

DontCallMeCharlotte Fri 15-Mar-19 10:56:15

And if she's that bad, it might be worth having a word with your GP surgery to ensure she can't call asking for information from them, either. Ask if they'll set you up a password, without which they are not to divulge information.

Hang on, are you saying there are GP surgeries on this planet that would give out information to anyone but the patient or next of kin?? That's shocking if true.

GreenFingersWouldBeHandy Fri 15-Mar-19 10:56:18

YANBU. I also hate people that do the 'Don't let on you know but blah, blah, blah...'

Maybe you and DP need to have an agreed statement as such for when she inevitably asks... maybe come up with something you're both comfortable saying to her?

"Sorry MIL, but we're keeping her private business private from now on."
And repeat infinitum... or whatever you want to say.

If it's the same coming from both of you that might help.

steppemum Fri 15-Mar-19 10:57:17

I would also let her know why.
So she asks - how is dd? I would say - fine. Then she will ask about upcoming op, or her medical issue and I woudl say to her - sorry, I am not going to share anything about that with you, because you cannot keep it to yourself, and it is private to dd, and I don't want everyone in town to know.

However much she flusters etc, just shrug and move on.

Purplecatshopaholic Fri 15-Mar-19 11:01:32

I work in HR so confidentiality is just a given, I dont tell anyone anything really! Just stop telling this woman stuff, you know you cant trust her! Your daughter has a right to privacy

AnneOfCleanTables Fri 15-Mar-19 11:04:34

If you live in a small town, is it likely other people will know about DD's medical issue and progress? If so, then I think it would be unfair to leave DMIL open to finding out updates from strangers.
I know generally that MN doesn't agree with me on this but I think medical issues can impact others ie your DMIL might want to chat to a friend about it for support for her and I don't think that's unkind or that unusual tbh.

Yabbers Fri 15-Mar-19 11:05:01

What did she say when you tackled her about it?

justasking111 Fri 15-Mar-19 11:05:47

Our family keep family business between family, that is the way it should be. Sorry your mum needs to be kept out of the loop. We do not talk about our children our grandchildren about things like this.

I hope your daughter has a successful operation and can move forward with less issues.

WhereYouLeftIt Fri 15-Mar-19 11:11:31

YANBU. In your shoes I would be furious with her. I would tell her nothing from now on, and I would tell her why. I wouldn't be vague about it, on her first question (however innocuous that particular question was, doesn't matter) next time I saw her it would be "I'm not discussing DD's health with you ever again. It was upsetting, people in the street telling me all about DD's condition, knowing that they'd got all this information from you. So stop asking, I can't trust you with the answers."

Yes, it's harsh. But if asking her nicely, as you have in the past, hasn't worked, then you need to try something else. "If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always got." She'll undoubtedly now gossip about how horrible you are, but those she gossips to will probably see where you're coming from better than her.

PolarBearDisguisedAsAPenguin Fri 15-Mar-19 11:13:32

YANBU and I don’t think you are projecting but I also think you need to stop telling anyone about it if you don’t want to run the risk of others being told, not just your MIL.

LagunaBubbles Fri 15-Mar-19 11:15:25

I take it you have spoken to her to let her you you know she's been gossiping after you said not to?

justmyview Fri 15-Mar-19 11:21:58

If you live in a small town, is it likely other people will know about DD's medical issue and progress? If so, then I think it would be unfair to leave DMIL open to finding out updates from strangers

I agree with this. But if you're not telling other people, then I think it's fair enough to keep info to yourselves and explain why

Drum2018 Fri 15-Mar-19 11:27:50

I remember my mum telling a visitor that I had thrush - I was there in the room and I was 19!! I wouldn't bother telling your mil any more information. If she asks just say there is no update, dd is fine. Even when she has the surgery I'd just keep it between yourselves. Ds is due a procedure and we haven't told anyone. It's nobody else's business, not even close family.

QueenoftheBiscuitTin Fri 15-Mar-19 11:28:05

Seeing as you've already told her multiple times not to tell other people, I wouldn't be giving her any more information. She should have more respect for your DD and your wishes.

ThumbWitchesAbroad Fri 15-Mar-19 11:29:16

I totally agree with you but it doesn't sound like your DH Is fully on board with this - as in, he's agreeing to your face but if his mother quizzes him on anything, he's going to fold like a house of cards and just tell her.

My DH does this - luckily for us we don't have a situation similar to your DD's, where it would actually matter, but when I fell pg the first time, of course DH knew and he was just about to go to visit his mother for a few weeks (different continent). I told him not to tell her please, as it was still VERY early days and I hadn't told my parents - but he bloody did, and my only surprise is that the news didn't make it back from the other side of the planet, the number of people SHE told it to. angry

She happily tells us all about her other family's medical problems, so I know she's tell them about ours too. It's not on, it really isn't.

I hope your DH can really work on his ability to deflect his mother and NOT tell her private stuff.

PregnantSea Fri 15-Mar-19 11:34:02

YANBU. However your husband is right about it being very awkward, and I don't think you could just not say anything at all, or change the subject of she asks. So I would say the best thing to do is be very direct and when she inevitably asks about Dd's condition just say "I'm sorry but I don't want to get into it. We've repeatedly asked you to keep it private and you haven't done so. It's bit fair to DD. We'll let you know if anything really serious happens".

PregnantSea Fri 15-Mar-19 11:35:40

*unfair! Not bit fair.

championquartz Fri 15-Mar-19 11:39:00

I'm very strongly with you.
Your MIL was privileged to be told of your DD's medical issue. She has abused that privilege => she should not be privilege to further info.

You need to protect your DD in this.

My way would be when she asks, is to brush it of with a shrug of 'it's fine. I'm not convinced she needs to know anymore than that, or why you're not going into details etc.

dragoning Fri 15-Mar-19 11:46:16

You are absolutely 100 percent right.

Just be bland and say 'she's fine thanks. We'll let you know if there are any problems' you could also say 'we're hoping to stay here as she grows up, so we've decided to keep her medical information private. You know how gossipy people can be'

ShanghaiDiva Fri 15-Mar-19 11:46:53

Agree with you 100%. My in laws are exactly the same - share private details with everyone and after they told everyone about one of my medical issues, I no longer tell them anything.
I understand that it can be awkward for your dh. Agree with pp that if she asks about anything you give a vague - it's all fine - response.

Senac32 Fri 15-Mar-19 11:51:42

You're definitely in the right, flothatchicken.
Rather than putting her off altogether (she's probably worried too) I would tell her that your doctors have said to keep it confidential until there's something definite to report.
Hoping your daughter's op. etc goes well, It all sounds very uncertain.

Nomorepies Fri 15-Mar-19 11:52:44

YANBU. That’s awful, she sounds insecure and uses gossip (even about her own family!) to look important and knowledgeable to others. Totally wrong to divulge private medical information, I would be absolutely fuming if I was you. You need to hammer this home to DH- he needs to be absolutely on the same page with this. Don’t give MIL any more info whatsoever. And if she asks, just say nothing, change the topic or just come out with it and say you no longer want to discuss it because she can’t keep it to herself.

Hope your daughter gets sorted flowers

Jux Fri 15-Mar-19 11:57:20

What Whereyouleftit said. Straight talking needed, not mealy-mouthed avoidance.

BettyDuMonde Fri 15-Mar-19 11:59:53

I’ve found it useful to have extended community support re: my daughter’s illness (both in practical terms and for my own mental health) but it’s absolutely a decision for you and your DH to make, not one for your MIL to take out of your hands.

Complete privacy would’ve been impossible for us because a)the treatment radically changed her appearance and b) we had to ask my DD’s school class for some special permissions - not relevant to you at this stage, of course!

Best wishes to your DD x

ClownpantsKate Fri 15-Mar-19 12:09:42

I think ignorance is bliss concerning some people.

The local gossip in my home town found out about some poor lad's undescended testicles and delighted in telling everyone.

Fifteenthnamechange Fri 15-Mar-19 12:11:19

I had the same with my DC. MIL is gob almighty. Particularly loves a health story & will tell u about people fannies after childbirth, their boob jobs etc.
So when DC needed surgery didn't tell her till the week before (after a year of medical interventions).
Keep it from her I say

AzureApps Fri 15-Mar-19 12:14:04

My MIL is the same, I haven’t told her about fertility issues or pregnancy losses due to her gossiping

flothatchicken Fri 15-Mar-19 12:20:50

Thanks everyone for your replies. It's good to know that I'm not being that UR. It's making me feel more angry to be honest!! I can't help but feel it's in bad taste to disclose anyone's medical info when they've opened up to you, but to be gossiping about a 2 year old is just crass.

The only other people we've told is my parents who have reassured us they haven't said a word. Plus DH confronted MIL and she said "I'm sorry, it won't happen again" so it was definitely her. However she's said those exact same words about 6 months ago so the trust is broken for me.

Thankfully it's not life threatening, it can be resolved with no further issues or it could really impact her life for a long time, it's too early to tell. I understand she's worried about her granddaughter but we haven't even shared with friends or siblings, only my parents as we've needed childcare help with dc2.

I feel bad for DH because it would have been nice for him to have the option of his parents support and as a result of her gossiping that's now not an option for him.

I think we're going to wait until she asks and then explain why. She won't stop keeping on otherwise and I'd rather nip it in the bud and tell her why.

Thanks again everyone.

HotpotLawyer Fri 15-Mar-19 12:21:18

I would tell her that if she ever breathes one more word about your Dds condition, treatment or anything, you will tell everyone that MIL has a condition that means she can't control what she says and she makes up stories so everyone needs to be very careful what they tell her and what they believe from her.

Well, I would think of doing that. But ore likely I would just stop telling her stuff.

NannyRed Fri 15-Mar-19 12:22:41

Stop telling mil anything. She can’t gossip if she has no facts.

Purplelion Fri 15-Mar-19 12:22:46

I’ve stopped telling my nan things that I don’t want people to know. I went to the doctors once when I was 18 for tonsillitis and when she asked where I’d been and I told her but didn’t tell her why she went crazy and asked if I had gone for an abortion l!

cstaff Fri 15-Mar-19 12:32:42

I used to work with a girl who loved to spread gossip around the office. I stopped telling her anything that was really private but if I wanted word to get around about something I would just tell "Anne" and make sure to say to her "now thats not to go any further" and you could be damn sure the whole office would know by the end of the day. So you can turn these things to your advantage but in your MIL's case you do need to stop telling her about your child's health issues and when she asks be straight with her. It might give her a kick up the ass but I wouldn't count on it.

FizzyGreenWater Fri 15-Mar-19 12:34:55

I think we're going to wait until she asks and then explain why. She won't stop keeping on otherwise and I'd rather nip it in the bud and tell her why.

Yes. Even if it causes a minor falling out it's the oonly way to go. You do need to nip it right now or - and this is what you need to hammer home with your DH - MIL is going to be the one to suffer because eventually you will fall out with her over it, when she does do it again and again.

Much better to be upfront right now and she won't like it but what can she say? I would also hint at exactly what I've said above. Bottom line, she can't be trusted, would she rather her son and DIL were upfront that it was an issue and change things, or get more and more upset WHEN it happens again and end up with a rift?

Useful lines:

'It was really upsetting to hear DD's and our private medical business gossiped back to us' (note: it was upsetting, not I was upset.)

'We would hate to end up falling out' (warning shot)

'It's made us realise that it's our responsibility as her parents to respect her privacy while she's so small and not put that responsibility on anyone else.' (what can she say to that!)

'Also as we're the only ones involved directly in her care there really is no need for us to discuss details with anyone in the wider family. We've realised that as her granny, all you will be wanting to know is that DD is happy and doing well and yes anything else is just gossip isn't it! So we are sure that if we just don't discuss this in future it will suit everyone. After all, why would anyone want all the details unles they were just being nosey? It makes no difference to the important thing, which is that DD is doing fine.' (this will finish her off. How can she ask for the ins and outs now without you saying 'We've talked about this though, we really don't like the idea of gossiping about the details do we?')

YetAnotherThing Fri 15-Mar-19 12:47:21

YANBU- Nobody has the right to know medical info about anyone’s health and as parents we’re custodians of that confidentiality until they are competent to deal with it themselves. Your MIL doesn’t grasp this. You need your DH to support this- Give your DH an example of a medical condition he might find embarrassing (bleeding piles or something) and how he’d feel if your DPs knew about it (let alone them telling the others) etc. See if he grasps the loss of control aspect?

SofaSurfer20 Fri 15-Mar-19 12:53:15

Dont tell her a bloody thing

ApproachWithWine Fri 15-Mar-19 13:19:54

My MIL is the same. She's a gossip. I tell her nothing, or all the random family members who haven't bothered with us for donkeys years, and her friends who we don't know, would know our private business.

You're right. Hope your DD is ok x

cakecakecheese Fri 15-Mar-19 13:21:48

Tell her something made up, wait for Gladys from down the road to ask you about your daughter's rickets, look confused and say 'not sure where MIL got that from' and do the glug glug mime. Done.

But really you are right to not tell her anything anymore, she's lost all rights to any information.

flothatchicken Mon 18-Mar-19 12:40:51


So DH had a proper chat with MIL at the weekend and to say it didn't go well is an understatement.

Apparently it's my issue for being so secretive. She now feels stressed about being around me because she doesn't know what to say anymore in fear of offending me because I'm so easily offended hmm

Christ! Maybe don't ask my kids to call you Mummy. Don't insult me when we invite you for dinner. Don't undermine me and tell my dc something is fine when I ask them to stop doing something.

Just be a nice, normal human being!!!

I'm just so tired. Too tired for this rubbish.

ItWentDownMyHeartHole Mon 18-Mar-19 12:57:45

Ah, so she’s gone with Attack rather than Apology this time. Stick to your guns. Make husband do the same. You poor thing, it must be tiring.

ThumbWitchesAbroad Mon 18-Mar-19 13:10:21

She's a passive-aggressive manipulative twat.
Just smile and agree with her.
And never tell her anything ever again.

Jux Mon 18-Mar-19 18:48:17

Oh dear, I suppose that's not entirely unexpected. She was going to go one way or the other - apologise and stop doing it, or make it all your fault.

Where does your dh stand?

WhereYouLeftIt Mon 18-Mar-19 22:02:22

"She now feels stressed about being around me because she doesn't know what to say anymore in fear of offending me because I'm so easily offended hmm "
Oh, fuck her then. Have nothing to do with her. Then she won't be around you to get stressed. It's the kind thing to do, clearly.

starshollow1 Mon 18-Mar-19 23:44:15

I guess the only solution is that she isn't around you. Shame, I'm sure you'll really miss her.

Yanbu OP. Your mil seems to have some issues. Maybe some space will give her a chance to consider what is more important to her.

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