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Is this holding a grudge?

(54 Posts)
SMarie123 Wed 01-Jul-20 09:25:40

When I first had my oldest DC my MIL was really nasty to me, she later apologised/ explained she was going though a bad time emotionally as she had lost her husband of 45 years 18 months earlier. I never made a drama and I was very graceful in my response.

Ever since I have been reserved with her. I am always kind and make sure I treat her the same as my parents eg calling, sending cards etc but to be honest I just don't feel comfortable in her company. I never relax. I hate visiting her because it is so far away we have to stay overnight, I can't be myself or chill out. I know she thinks I am incompetent (because she told me..) so I just don't want to be there. My husband thinks I need to move on and stop holding a grudge, she is opinionated with everyone (which is true) and I need to have a thicker skin. I can do the actions eg cards, phone calls but not the emotions. Does that make me someone that holds a grudge or is that natural?

OP’s posts: |
Patbutcherismyhero Wed 01-Jul-20 09:30:11

I don't think I would label it as a grudge. It's just your natural feelings towards someone who was unpleasant to you. You're doing all the right things in terms of phone calls and cards. Lots of people would be a lot less gracious.

It's hard because she's your partners mum and won't go away so I would really try to put it from your mind and try to focus on the here and now when you have to see her. But I don't blame you for still feeling wary around her. Sometimes you can forgive but not forget.

newbathroomforme Wed 01-Jul-20 09:50:41

My MIL was really horrible to me for years when I first met my DH she only sort of apologised 35 years later. I didn’t do even half the things you do and anything I did I was just going through the motions although I was always very polite but all conversation was superficial nothing more. I also wouldn’t have liked her if I’d met her under any other circumstances because she was simply not a pleasant person. No one can make you feel warm and friendly to someone who for whatever reason you don’t like. I fully appreciate it makes it difficult for partners when your in these situations.
She also lost out in the long run she saw her grand children 3 times a year max as I made no effort to ensure she saw them (she loved 200 miles away) and saw my DH (who was also not mad keen on her) 5-6 times a year max I didn’t ever stop him from going but I never encouraged him to go and see her. She saw us at Xmas only a tiny handful of time over the last 30+ years. I did make sure my DC’s sent birthday cards photos etc. Was I holding a grudge? Maybe but years of unpleasantness doesn’t exactly give you a warm feeling towards someone.
Now my DCs girlfriends are the same age I was when I met my MIL I’m always really nice to them!!!
What goes around comes around.

mbosnz Wed 01-Jul-20 09:59:27

Her actions had consequences. They have severely impacted on your feelings towards your MIL, and as a result, your relationship. Once bitten, twice shy.

You do your duty, but have no positive feelings toward her. Perfectly natural. If your MIL is opinionated towards everyone, I'm sure she's no stranger to this outcome.

Your DH needs just to accept it, grow a thicker skin, and move on.

NewtonWasRight Wed 01-Jul-20 10:08:19

that's not holding a grudge.

frankly, i think your DH needs a reality check. he should count himself lucky that you're taking on wifework like sending cards etc - does he thank you/value that?

you can't change how you feel. your DH is asking you to. you're not doing anything horrible based on those feelings, i think he is being outrageous demanding that you somehow "fix" your feelings so you feel closer to her etc.

billy1966 Wed 01-Jul-20 10:21:49

You are rightly wary of a not very nice woman who was deeply unpleasant towards you.

You write that she is very outspoken, so you continue to feel uncomfortable around.

It must be awful having to stay with her.

Tell your husband to back off.
There are consequences to her being awful to you, and they are you are NOT comfortable in her company.

For your husband to refuse to respect your feelings and dismiss them makes him sound like a bully.

Is he like his mother?


Cadent Wed 01-Jul-20 10:25:10

Nope, I agree with @mbosnz actions have consequences. Politeness is fine and a heck of a lot more than she gave you.

Why are you sending her cards? I’d nip it in the bud and tell H it’s his responsibility or you’ll be saddled with it for the next 20 years.

Has she said you’re incompetent recently?

daylilies Wed 01-Jul-20 10:25:55

Grudges were discussed on another thread and someone linked this book. I am a bit of a grudge holder and was interested in how it's linked to having good boundaries?

AnneLovesGilbert Wed 01-Jul-20 10:26:14

When did she tell you you’re incompetent? If that was since her apology I’d be avoiding visits - DH can go on his own - and binning off cards and calls. If he thinks that stuff matters he’s sort it won’t he.

He’s being very unfair and quite shit. She behaved horribly and hurt fully, you were kind enough to accept her excuses and you’re STILL doing visits you don’t enjoy and the wife work he probably doesn’t appreciate.

mrscatalano Wed 01-Jul-20 10:26:35

How is she with you now? Did you believe the apology and has she made amends since? An apology is one thing but is she showing you that she's not that person?

It's really hard to move past stuff like that if you don't feel like the apology is genuine but if she has been different since, then maybe you can both find a way to move past it. For your sake more than anything, it must feel really shit to hold onto this.

SMarie123 Wed 01-Jul-20 11:17:05

After the apology she was coy for a while ( it was unfortunate for her she was bitching about me on the landline to her friend and I could hear her because she had answered her mobile by mistake). Not all of it was even true, DH was devastated, but to be honest I was numb to it because I had always known she didn't like me... DH had always denied it and now he couldn't, so I was oddly happy because I knew I was right about my/ our position in her life.

She makes minimal effort with us eg all 3 of her children live in the same city (2 hours from our home) and she spends a few nights with the other 2 but none with us. If we have event like a new baby or house move she does come and stay with us but it has to be a big life changer.

When she sees me she is nice enough, but I fully understand that we are bottom rung on the ladder.

I am happy enough to do the wife work, I am happy enough to spend time chatting to her when she had some health issues. I am even happy for her to come on holiday with us as long as it is somewhere that will be easy for my children.

There are 2 things I don't like

1) being in her home overnight because she makes me uncomfortable and it also is not ideal for young kids (they don't sleep well there, it is a farm, they can get out of the house easily and it is by a road)

2) spending time with her and her other children because then it is really obvious she doesn't like us as much.

My DH cannot accept that I am not happy with the points above and puts me under pressure... I resist... we fight and I am annoyed for a few weeks

OP’s posts: |
YouDirtyMare Wed 01-Jul-20 11:21:24

No, you are quite rightly on your guard..

SMarie123 Wed 01-Jul-20 11:22:23

@billy1966 he isn't like his mother. He is really kind and sees the best in everyone. I
Think she probably was a good mother to him, albeit domineering and headstrong. She does have a good enough heart, but she has no emotional intelligence and can't read people well or adapt to other people.

OP’s posts: |
mbosnz Wed 01-Jul-20 11:25:30

Your DH would do far better to appreciate just how much you do, and gracefully accept you not doing what you don't feel comfortable with.

Why doesn't he go spend time with her without you?

Is there a hotel or airbnb that you could stay at instead of staying overnight? I found that it made things a lot easier with both my parents and DH's when we did this, rather than staying with the family.

SMarie123 Wed 01-Jul-20 11:29:11

@mrscatalano I did believe the apology but she was caught red handed and had very little choice. My poor husband was entirely devastated she was so horrible and her other kids really gave her a hard time about it. She tried to talk to me about it but I just said it was fine And changed the subject. When someone is that cruel (and lies) how can you really talk about it? What is there to say? There just wasn't a defence and I didn't see the point in making her more uncomfortable.

Her other kids did try and talk to me about it but I just didn't entertain it. I just said that we probably all give a warped version of the truth to our friends and it is unfortunate if the person you are talking about hears you. The grace I handled it with made them even more angry, but that wasn't my agenda, I think you need to be very careful saying anything negative about someone's mother!

OP’s posts: |
SMarie123 Wed 01-Jul-20 11:38:34

@Cadent no not recently. Only that one time I overheard it but it is obvious in her behaviour before and after that she doesn't think I am great.

My husband is an amazing father and very good under pressure / dealing with situations parents deal with all the time. He is smooth .... whereas I get more overwhelmed. I know He is more gifted then me in this area, but I am ok with that. I appreciate his greatness without comparing it to myself.

I do my best and love my kids dearly, I know I am a good enough mother. I am the main breadwinner so why do I have to be amazing at everything?

OP’s posts: |
SMarie123 Wed 01-Jul-20 11:46:49

@newbathroomforme it sounds
Like you did enough. Probably around the same amount as me.

I worry that if my DC see me saying anything bad about her as it might feed a feeling that MIL's are horrible/ hard work. I can't always be "professional" in front of them. With DH's siblings I can, because it is just the continuation of the act. Also I figure if I am graceful it will be very hard for them to agree with MIL's point of view that I am worthless.

OP’s posts: |
thepeopleversuswork Wed 01-Jul-20 11:47:08

That doesn't sound like holding a grudge, it sounds like healthy self-preservation to be honest. I think if people behave like this towards you its far better to remove them from any emotional investment in or relevance to your life. Life is just too short to accommodate people who behave like this.

And I don't see why she gets to decide whether you're "incompetent" or otherwise.

I think your DH can reasonably expect you to be polite and courteous to her and not to drag him into negative discussion about it but that's it. She has destroyed the relationship with you, offered a half-hearted apology but not really tried to build bridges. You've done all that can really be asked of you.

Cadent Wed 01-Jul-20 11:50:51

I am happy enough to do the wife work, I am happy enough to spend time chatting to her when she had some health issues. I am even happy for her to come on holiday with us as long as it is somewhere that will be easy for my children.

And yet you say My DH cannot accept that I am not happy with the points above and puts me under pressure... I resist... we fight and I am annoyed for a few weeks

Your DH is not being an ‘amazing father’ when allowing his wife to be treated this way, OP.

You’re arguing for weeks over something that is not your fault at all. Please disengage from the wifework, it’s contributing to the toxic dynamic.

What does DH do your for your family?

InstantMango Wed 01-Jul-20 11:52:13

Nope thats not a grudge, its healthy boundaries.
Yiur DH wants you to give them up to make his life easier and so he doesnt have to examine his Mothers behaviour.
Tough shit I say !

SMarie123 Wed 01-Jul-20 11:53:05

@mbosnz he could go alone but just the set up
Of the house with a toddler and a preschooler is hard work. They can really easily get out because the doors are easy to unlock and MIL
Is always leaving them open. The surrounding area isn't safe (there is an active farm joined to one side with no boundary... lots of animals they are very interested in) they can easily get onto a busy road out the front. The house itself is massive and full of fragile things. The garden has lots of precious plants they could ruin.

OP’s posts: |
Yeahnahmum Wed 01-Jul-20 11:56:34

It's not a grudge. You just don't like her. don't go visit her anymore then if you don't want to sleep over (hell I wouldn't..) let your dh and kid go. Stay home. Have a wine. Enjoy life 😊

Also: your husband sounds like a great man. And father. Just a louzy husband to be honest

SMarie123 Wed 01-Jul-20 11:58:12

@Cadent actually he does a lot for my family. He is in a medical profession and got one of my parents accurately diagnosed and treated where they had fallen into a wrong diagnosis. My whole family think he saved my fathers life (although my DH disagrees).

OP’s posts: |
Cadent Wed 01-Jul-20 12:01:57

Sounds like a one-off OP? What does he do regularly for them? Like you doing the cards?

And when MIL visits who does the cooking/tea/coffee/bed sheets?

Itisbetter Wed 01-Jul-20 12:11:23

I’d go because I didn’t want the children there without me. I think you sound like you’re being perfectly reasonable. What does your Dh want it to be like? Who has to change for that to happen? I would hazard a guess it’s his family since they are the ones who create the unsafe house, criticism, favouritism? Get him to think about how he will achieve that change so you can respond differently. I doubt he can but if he can he will achieve the outcome he wants. He’s a Dr he must have some understanding of cause and effect. Your response is a symptom not the underlying condition.

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