Nice MIL - Why am I so annoyed?(4 Posts)
Ok, so a bit of background...I'm the Daughter of an adoptee, who has had a lot of mental health issues, has been abusive to me and my younger sister through the years and has been a victim of domestic violence. The family she was adopted into are caring, but very critical and a bit on the tough love side. When my Mum was unable to care for me, I was cared for by them. I'm still very close to everyone and have perhaps developed a critical nature from this, which I'm trying to challenge myself to change.
Since leaving home, I've been though Uni, trained and worked as a Counsellor (we all have blind spots (😉) and met and married my Partner.
When I initially met my Partner, his Mum was very critical of me. She was a relationship therapist herself and thought that my history was bad news for my Partner (I did also go through a bit of a promiscuous stage and had some mental health hang ups that I'd largely been working through). He did go against her advice (a first for him) and we have been together for 11 years now.
She's been strongly encouraging us to have children for years, which used to annoy me, as I knew we didn't have much support (supportive family members are now in their 80's), but we did have a baby a little earlier than planned and currently have a 6 month old.
I have always clashed slightly with my Partner's Mum. On a few occasions, we'd be talking and I realised that she was counselling us (a big no no in the counselling community), she's quite over the top emotionally (which for me is reminiscent of the out-of-control emotions I grew up with, but also feels very false an manipulative at times) and she will often make huge assumptions about me or my partner on very little information (which often leads me to correct her and unwittingly tell her more than I wanted to). Despite this, she is well meaning and I think a lot of what she does comes from a place of care or worry, though I don't think her caring style has moved beyond Mothering, and both her Sons generally limit their communication with her (my partner will often take something to read when we visit).
I think that despite her insistence that she was a great mother, she is actually very bad at reading people. She doesn't seem to recognise when children might be uncomfortable when she wants to hug them for example. I'm quite uncomfortable with this, as I don't want my Son to feel like he has to put his needs aside to please others (as I have). She has stated that she's too old to take care of the baby on her own, but has said she wants us to visit one evening a week, which doesn't sound unreasonable; however, she will spend a lot of this time 'entertaining' the baby until he's overtired, I find the whole thing hard work and I feel like it's all on her terms. I do also have people in my own family to visit.
Is she making an unreasonable request? Am I overreacting?
If someone came to you with this issue, what would you tell them?
She doesn't sound like a problem MIL to me. Is there something else going on in your life that you are unhappy with? Could this be a distraction from some real problems?
Well I think it's UR to expect your adult child who is now a pretty new parent to commit to one evening a week. It could very quickly become a chore to them.
Pop round when it's convenient, try to make it fairly frequently, so she doen't feel left out, especially if you're seeing your own mum regularly.
You are being unreasonable. A visit once a week should be fine. As people get older they can get set in their ways and also parents will still maintain the dominant role in the dynamic no matter what age the children. So I guess there will be things that annoy you but you have to suck it up - within reason of course - your description does not make things sound too bad. We should be more caring to our elders especially as they can get very lonely in the later stage of life. Try to understand her position.
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