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I'm not sure why I'm writing this (sorry its long)

(23 Posts)
notmyself Mon 11-Apr-05 09:10:07

I'm not sure why I'm writing this but I read in a magazine yesterday that if you are feeling low then you should either talk about it or write it down and I don't have anyone to talk to.

It is quite a long story and I am not sure what I really want to say and how this is going to sound. I don't think I am depressed because I have never felt depressed before I have been stressed but as I am normally a naturally optimistic person I don't tend to feel depressed because I always see a way out and feel optimistic about the future. But I am not feeling myself at the moment so I am not really sure how I feel. I still feel optimistic but I feel really guilty that I don't feel 100% at the moment and I feel guilty that I am being so self obsessed that I am actually writing about my feelings.

I have a beautiful baby who I bonded with straight away and a very supportive husband, so I have every reason to feel happy. But my MIL is being so nasty to me lately that I don't know how to snap back to myself after her comments. My ds is 8 months old and I have only been feeling this way for about the last month. Some of the comments that she makes are so subtle that I would feel silly writing them down but when they have been made to you constantly over the last 10 years it makes you feel you are being bullied. I was always able to ignore them but now she is implying that I am a bad mother and I find that really hard to take, I think i am a good mother, my husband thinks I am a great mother but she will only ever criticise me. An example was the other day she telephoned me and asked if I was going out I had already taken ds for a long walk and said that I would not be going out again as it had started to snow (I know, snow in April!) she said to me "oh you will always find any excuse to keep that baby in I expect you will put your feet up and read a book, it is a hard life doing nothing"! As if! I know that sounds minor but I receive comments like this every day and it is dragging me down.

Last week I told dh, I felt really guilty because he was totally shocked but I felt she was driving a wedge between us. It felt a relief to tell him and I felt much stronger for doing so but now she has made some really sarky coments at the w/end and brought me back down again.

I suppose my question is (if anyone has not fallen asleep yet) is how can I ignore her and bounce back?

pinkmama Mon 11-Apr-05 09:31:36

Oh Notmyself, thats horrid. I don't know what to suggest. I think its easier to ignore comments about ourselves prekids, but our ability to be a good mother is for many people a really sensitive subject. i dont know many who people, and all my friends are fabulous mums, that don't question their parenting and have a lot of self doubt about it. So if someone comes along and makes comments aobut it I think it is really hard to shake off. Its hard to say whithout knowing more about your relationship with her before this. Does she live close to you, how often do you see her, how does she get on with dh? YOu might just need to tell her to back off, and that her comments are hurtful even if she doesnt mean them to be, but as I say that depends on your relationship. I am sure others will have loads of advice as I dont think you are on your own with having a difficult MIL.

Marina Mon 11-Apr-05 09:32:41

OK, get "caller display" enabled and then just don't answer the telephone if you don't feel like speaking to her (hardly surprising, she sounds manipulative and horrible).
When you say you don't "feel yourself", are there physical symptoms you can identify? Are you having trouble sleeping? Have you got any digestive symptoms that might be stress or anxiety-related? Have you seen the GP to have your iron levels and thyroid function checked? A lot of fairly easily treatable conditions can drag you down physically no end. Have you also been assessed by the Health Visitor for possible postnatal depression? It can strike some months after the baby's birth. I would definitely book an appointment at the surgery to talk it through with someone.
But a MIL like yours would make the sunniest of people miserable! Well done for telling your dh how unpleasant she has been...in my experience they are adept at sticking the knife in with their sons completely oblivious. They choose their moment - in your case, she knows you are at home alone during the day. I hope she doesn't live nearby with a key to your home or anything horrid like that. My dh always professes huge surprise when I inform him that MIL is bitching again about ds' schooling or the number of toys he has...and dh is often in the same room!
You sound to me as though you are doing a great job - the first year of your first child's life is probably the hardest you will ever live through. And having a snide MIL on your back really doesn't help.
HTH a little.

Nemo1977 Mon 11-Apr-05 09:39:45

firstly i agree with marina about caller display.
MY mum is my prob and very critical etc so i bought an answering machine and vet my calls now. Its great as i felt so empowered by it. The other thing is you know its not easy with an 8mth old, u know what u have to do each day so dont let someone else put a blur on your reality..iykwim..Always try to be open with dh as otherwise she will have the upper hand of being a B**ch to u but a loving mum to him.....hope this helps hun and deffo keep talking

fuzzywuzzy Mon 11-Apr-05 09:44:17

'its a hard life doing nothing' Tell her you wouldn't know about that.... What a complete cow.
I don't think that's either small or subtle a remark to make. When I had dd1, I'd be lucky to get changed out of my nightdress during the first year of her life. I found motherhood to be so demanding and different from my previous office working life....
Well done to you for actually getting baby out the house within the first 8 months. My dp can testify to the gibbering wreck dd1 had reduced me to, with her constant crying for no discernible reason whatsoever.....

notmyself Mon 11-Apr-05 10:09:54

Thanks for your comments. My dh suggested the caller display phone too. He said answer the phone and if she is civil answer again but if she makes any nasty comments to ignore her phone calls for about a week and she will soon get the message.

I think her problem is that she has always seen herself as the mother figure and she actually feels threatened by me. Completely ridicilous I know but she gets really jealous if dh tells her I have made something nice for dinner and she doesnt like it because I make all my own food for ds, I overheard her telling sil that I was showing off and the time I spend cooking I should be doing housework instead! She doesnt make sense half the time! She kind of gives people labels and she would always tell everyone I was the career one and she liked this because she did not feel this was a threat to her as she is not interested in a career. The thing is I never really considered myself that career minded.

Because her kids have all grown up I think she feels that she does not have a role anymore, she works but hates her job. I suggested that she starts her own business (money not an issue for her) as she is really great at creative stuff, she is very talented so I try to praise her (I am not creative at all) but she says I live in a dream world and real people don't have fancy ideas like opening her their own business. Perhaps she is depressed?

anorak Mon 11-Apr-05 10:21:20

Don't let her get away with these remarks. Every time she says something like this, challenge her.

Say, 'Do you really mean that?' 'Why do you think that?' 'What makes you say that?' or 'Why do you criticise me all the time?'

I don't see how anyone could reasonably accuse you of being difficult by asking these perfectly polite questions. But you will force her to put up or shut up. I'm sure she'll get tired of having to justify her comments.

anorak Mon 11-Apr-05 10:23:15

'Real people don't have fancy ideas like starting their own business'

What utter tosh! So everyone who ever started their own business is what...made of cardboard or something

HondaDream Mon 11-Apr-05 11:49:59

I was in your shoes three yeras ago and it turned out I was suffering from post natal depression. Any thing upset me and in particular nasty remarks from MIL who still tries it on now but I have learned to deal with her. I also had loving supportive DH but with three kids under 2.5(sounds crazy but true,) the fact I was depressed meant I couldn't cope with any small comment about my mothering skills or anything else for that matter. Talk to a profesional and discuss with DH because really post natal depresion can hit you at any time not just directly after the birth.

Marina Mon 11-Apr-05 11:53:20

Ooh...is your dh an only child? Is there a FIL on the scene? You obviously have her sussed. Think Anorak's perfectly civil challenges are worth a try if you can pluck up the courage...

dinosaur Mon 11-Apr-05 11:58:55

notmyself I really feel for you. My own mum was put in exactly this position by her mil and it really sapped her confidence and took away a lot of her enjoyment of life. She didn't ever deal with it or stand up to my granny, and I really absolutely think you must, somehow, for your own sake. You are not being self-obsessed, at all - quite the opposite. I think this horrid woman is encroaching on your sense of self.

FWIW I reckon she's jealous - you've got "her son" and you've got a beautiful baby. She can't go back there again, and so (whether consciously or not) she's trying to wreck it for you. Don't let her!

Anorak - good suggestions. notmyself - how would you feel about trying them out?

saadia Mon 11-Apr-05 13:29:57

notmyself, there is really good advice here, and you do sound like a very tolerant and understanding person, which makes it all the more unfair that your mil is bothering you so much. But you really shouldn't. She has brought up her children, and now it's your turn to bring up yours.

I don't know of this is the case for you, but when had ds1 I spent much of my day alone and only spoke to my mother, mil, dh, and sometimes brother, so because I was having such little meaningful social contact anything that anyone did say probably had more impact than it would normally have.

MILs often give unwanted advice, usually it is well meant, but yours does, as you say, seem to have her own unresolved issues and problems which she is taking out on you. Next time she says something unpleasant either question it, as others have suggested, or else do try to laugh it off - life is too short to let other people's hang-ups mess up our day.

I have a close relative who is constantly giving advice and criticising my children - they are very clingy and cry when they see new people. She makes fun of them and complains about them behind my back. It used to bother me a lot but now I just think that stressing over it is a complete waste of time.

lunavix Mon 11-Apr-05 13:35:02

Stand up for yourself.

Familys can be horrid, especially when they aren't even strictly yours. MIL and FIL when we told them we were expecting ds were adamant we were going to struggle, and we should terminate the pregnancy. I fought back, refused to see them for a while, and now we have a lovely ds who THEY adore and don't even remember what they said! I brought it up with dh2b the other day when they said something else, and he was shocked (obviously had forgotten) and then told me not to talk about it as they are lovely people. ho hum.

They're starting again though, I'm desperate for number 2 and every time more babies are mentioned MIL goes 'NO YOU AREN'T HAVING ANOTHER NOT YET' even though every other person says do it!

I guess the thing is, you know what's best for your family, not her. THey're interfering, MILs are. Don't let her get you down, ignore her calls and MAKE DH AWARE OF WHAT SHE SAYS.

Tortington Mon 11-Apr-05 19:42:07

your either one of two people - the kind that tell her and hope the world doesnt fall apart - or the type that ignore it and get upset.

i am type two where my mil is concerned. i would definatley get called ID. - i hardly ever speak to my MIL or any of his family come to that. becuase i pass the phone straight over. then it would be up to your dh to say " my mum thinks the baby should go out more often"
to which i would reply
" tell her to come round and fkin well get him ready then.or even better - if your that bothered you do it"

however i think most dh's would not be as tactless - as indeed most of their mothers wouldnt say such a thing to them.

at the moment your practically wearing a t-shirt that says " beat me up becuase i am nice" - you can either wear the t-shirt and fight your corner - or take it off and pretend the agressor isn't there.

Twiglett Mon 11-Apr-05 19:47:01

you can tell her to F' off and put the phone down

then phone her back 20 mins later and say that you're terribly sorry but your hormones are obviously getting the better of you and you didn't mean to let that slip out

Enid Mon 11-Apr-05 20:28:47

you sound like a sweet person - your MIL sounds like a jealous old bag - you are more vulnerable once you have had a baby.

AVOID AVOID AVOID her as much as possible. Does she live near?

Enid Mon 11-Apr-05 20:29:03

twig lol

Enid Mon 11-Apr-05 20:29:29

mumsnet has really made me laugh today - twig just then and ff on another thread

Henda Mon 11-Apr-05 20:34:00

HOW insecure is she?? Good grief. She's obviously jealous, and feels inferior. But making sarky and hurtful comments is the last thing she should be doing. Very immature. She needs someone who she would take it from to talk to her and tell her what a arse she's been. Why won't your dh try and talk to her properly? Hmm...

Dior Mon 11-Apr-05 21:28:08

Message withdrawn

notmyself Tue 12-Apr-05 10:05:59

Thanks for all your comments, they are really helpful I think I will try anorak's suggestions or failing that Twiglett's one! I think I just need to try and ignore more and not let her comments get to me. She acts so weird towards me but I know she only does things to wind me up. A couple of months ago she babysat for ds and I bought some biscuits and cakes for when they came round, we don't normally have them in the house but I thought that FIL might like them anyway they were left untouched and it was obvious that they had not even made themselves a cup of tea. A few weeks later they babysit again and bring around a bag of cakes & biscuits and believe it or not a flask of tea! When I asked why she said I did not want you to go to the trouble of buying anything, then she tells my mum at DS's christening that when she babysits for us they have to even bring their own flask of tea! My Mum then feels really sorry for me thinking we have fallen on hard times and sends me little food parcels in the post.

Anyway today I can see the funny side.

dinosaur Tue 12-Apr-05 11:17:00

What a silly silly woman! Glad you are seeing the funny side. Keep posting on here and we'll all have a laugh with you.

pinkmama Tue 12-Apr-05 11:41:59

lol notmyself, I maybe shouldn't laugh as Iknow you find it hard, but that is such a ridiculous way to behave it is laughable. I cant beleive she brought a flask round, even more so then telling your mum that she had to! I have to say that is not normal behaviour, she obviously has a lot of problems and should be eternally grateful that she has such a lovely, calm and rational dil as yourself!

Do you get on with your mum? Just wondred if you had mentioned this to her and what she thought?

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