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What does dd need to hear us say to these unpleasant comments? WWYD?

(37 Posts)
Unrulysun Fri 12-Aug-11 12:12:16

My MIL is quite an odd and evil person. She sometimes says things to our dd which are designed to be divisive eg 'Your mummy's wicked isn't she?', 'Your daddy was so rough with you then, granny would be rough with you' (we are neither rough nor wicked btw smile )

She also sometimes says things which are just plain old evil: 'We'll all hate you when you're 15' and her classic 'When mummy has a new baby she'll forget all about you'. shock

DD is 15 mo so we've mostly been ignoring on the basis that it's really not good for dd to hear a great big huge row which is what happens when MIL feels threatened (and on the basis that actually the comments are directed at us and fundamentally we don't give a shit) but obviously she'll start to fully understand soon. So the question is what does dd need to hear us respond with? Is it enough to say 'I'm not wicked MIL'? Or 'We'll never hate you darling'? or does she need to hear us be firm about not saying things like that?

Unrulysun Fri 12-Aug-11 12:13:12

sorry 'granny wouldn't be rough with you'

Octaviapink Fri 12-Aug-11 12:17:47

I think you need to have a very serious word with your MIL. Those are really nasty comments, and it won't be long at all till your DD starts to understand. She will already understand tone and general unpleasantness. That sort of passive-aggressive behaviour is incredibly hard to deal with. You may have to say to your MIL - if you have a problem with us, tell US. Don't make snide remarks to DD that are meant for us. Otherwise, frankly, she doesn't get to see DD.

Being generous, there may be an element to which she has forgotten how early small children understand things.

Unrulysun Fri 12-Aug-11 12:22:26

smile it's nice to be generous but it's not that she's a very, very unhappy woman (see me do the generous thing wink ) and she tries to cause divisions between people to get them on side. It's only one aspect of her unstable behaviour - there are lots of others. <sighs and checks calendar to see when next visit is scheduled>

A conversation with her will lead to 'well then we don't want to see you anymore' and I'm not sure that's best for dd so I'm conflicted, on one hand I want her to have a relationship with her granny on the other if that's a toxic relationship...

titchy Fri 12-Aug-11 12:27:24

DD needs to hear 'Oh dear granny's being very nasty isn't she - come on let's go home.'

Why is it in your dd's best interests to have a relationship with someone like that?

Unrulysun Fri 12-Aug-11 12:35:48

I don't know if it is titchy. I just feel it's best not to have great big no-one's-talking-to-anyone-rows maybe? And I know that kids blame themselves for these things and I would hate her to grow up thinking 'mummy and daddy don't see granny anymore because of something to do with me'

I am conflicted between feeling that and knowing that my absolute priority is protecting dd.

AMumInScotland Fri 12-Aug-11 12:39:49

Honestly, as your dd gets a little older, if not right away, you need to limit contact with anyone who is deliberately harmful to her well-being. These comments will hurt your dd, and she will struggle to understand why you want to visit someone, and expect her to be nice to someone, who is this unpleasant.

You are condoning your MILs comments by not challenging each and every one when it is said. The say actions speak louder than words - there is nothing you can say to your daughter that will be "louder" than letting someone be unkind to her this way.

Octaviapink Fri 12-Aug-11 12:41:09

I think you go with your gut and protect your daughter - you're right, a toxic relationship is worse than none at all. If a conversation will end in 'we don't want to see you until you can keep your tongue in check' then that's the way it has to be. Seriously - if you tell her she has to be nice/ keep her mouth shut then the ball will be in her court to do something about it if she wants a relationship with DD. She's a grown-up.

If you're worried about what DD will think, then you need to explain it to her. "Sometimes granny finds it difficult to be nice to people, so she's gone away to practise." or something!

Unrulysun Fri 12-Aug-11 12:41:34

Yes I think you're right re actions and words. This person is supposed to love her right? And I wouldn't see a friend who said those things.

Katisha Fri 12-Aug-11 12:41:34

I think you just need to start reacting. Maybe she wants a reaction, but don't give her the one she wants.
Just say "what a silly thing to say" and change the subject maybe. If she tries to bait you further say "well there's nothing to say is there - we would never hate DD" etc, and shake your head incredulously.

AMumInScotland Fri 12-Aug-11 12:41:46

Actually a row, where you make it clear that certain behaviour is unacceptable, is far less harmful to children than a poisonous atmosphere where she won't understand whether it is her fault or not. A row makes it clear that it is granny's fault. Expecting her to be nice to granny, when granny isn't nice to her, is far more likely to make her feel that any problems are her fault.

Unrulysun Fri 12-Aug-11 12:42:25

I love granny's gone away to practise!

Katisha Fri 12-Aug-11 12:43:11

Deoends what is likely to happen after the row though. Will it clear the air or will it just give MIL further material for her routine?

Unrulysun Fri 12-Aug-11 12:44:57

I'm hearing what you're saying AMuminScotland. DH was kept (by the same person obviously) from seeing his gps when he was growing up becuase of a falling out over nothing and he feels very angry about that, so I suppose we've been prioritising her having a relationship with them over anything else. That's why I'm posting here really because I can't see it clearly from in it IYSWIM?

Miggsie Fri 12-Aug-11 12:45:41

My granny was like this...it was dreadful growing up with her like that. My mother hated her (it was my dad's mum) and she wanted to stop seeing my granny-we had to do these dreadful "duty visits" where we had to sit round my granny while she pronounced on the family (always bad) and basically spat poison like a puff adder. My dad said he couldn't cut off his mum (30 years later he admits he should have) so my mum resorted to subterfuge and kept saying I was "at friends" or "on a school trip" whenever a duty visit loomed, but this was in my teens, I'd had 11 years of being told I was fat and spotty and it was all my mother's fault by then.

However, with that wonderful hindsight I can safely say I wish my parents had never let me near the poisonous old bag and the misery she caused was unbelievable and my mother suffered horribly for years at her hands.

My one regret is no one ever ever turned round to my gran and said "you are a horrible bully and none of us wants to visit you ever again" because she continued being horrible up to literally the minute she died, she died screaming abuse at my aunt. Nice.

Anyway, having had a dreadful granny I would advise you to stop visiting, due to the fact that she will try to poison your daughter against you and belittle her and try to destroy her self esteem, and yours, by the way. It is fine to say to your child "we don't visit X as they have been horrible to us" or "we don't get on" rather than put up with being bullied.

My brother and I are now in our forties and occasionally we say "remember granny?" and shudder, really physically shudder. My brother had asthma and gran used to antagonise him until he had an attack. They had to take him to hospital once due to this. Nice one granny - she maintained there was no such thing as asthma and even if there was it was my mum's fault for being a bad mother.

lettingitallgonow Fri 12-Aug-11 12:45:42

I think 'titchy' is right, however I dont' know if I'd want a relationship with someone that gets off on saying those horrible things.

If you said something and she did say 'well then we don't want to see you anymore' what would happen if you did just say 'ok' and went home then left her to it? She might then realise that it's not acceptable to talk to people that way, you might find that if you did leave everytime she said something horrid it might stop her doing it?

thesurgeonsmate Fri 12-Aug-11 12:46:41

Would MIL claim that she wouldn't say these things if she thought dd could understnad? Or don't you know?

Miggsie Fri 12-Aug-11 12:47:19

...oh and the classic "stop crying or I'll really give you something to cry about" line...

Unrulysun Fri 12-Aug-11 12:47:52

Katisha - yes sometimes further material - eg dh made the mistake last time they rowed of pointing out that FIL spends no time with dd at all and that he was a shit father and now visits are endlessly punctuated by her attempting to her her husband (who manifestly has no idea what to do with a child) and dd (who is more interested in eating the flowers) to play together. 'Go to Grandad', 'Play with Grandad', 'Sit on Grandad's knee' - it's excruciating

nickschick Fri 12-Aug-11 12:49:35

I think its important for children to understand,accept and tolerate people with all different attitudes and I think its important you give them the confidence to deal with situations - unfortunately the real world is a harsh place and she wont always be surrounded by people who adore her.....so in a weird way having a nan who says such dreadful things makes it easier for you to help her understand tolerance -you need to keep reinforcing that you and daddy and xyz love her vv much and nanny does too shes just not the same at showing it - tell dd shes the best 15 month old girl in the whole wide world and how v clever/lovable/beautiful she is and build her esteem and confidence so that when nanny says unpleasant things that she understands she can reply 'oh nanny you are a silly sausage' grin.

my own nan is really v unpleasant she used to call ds1 'him with the teeth' (he had v serious ortho issues) she calls ds2 'the leukamia kid' he has m.e and she insists its cancer really but noones telling me ,and ds3 is 'apron string boy' cos hes 10 and still spends a lot of time with me.

Unrulysun Fri 12-Aug-11 12:50:58

Miggsie I'm shuddering now sad and I can see her in that although not as bad but on the spectrum.

Yes I think she would say 'Oh she doesn't understand' and 'You know granny's just joking odn't you darling?' etc etc aand be very hurt and put out (by my wickedness smile )

The more I think about it the more I think we just need to be firm.

Cheria Fri 12-Aug-11 12:51:17

I would call her and tell her it is unacceptable behaviour. It really is. Does your DH agree with you? Would he be able to talk to her?

At 15 motnhs your daughter will already be storing things up and will understand very soon, if not already, even if she doesn't react yet. Babies are smarter than we think and have very good memories.

empirestateofmind Fri 12-Aug-11 12:52:56

Miggsie that is awful shock.

naught Fri 12-Aug-11 12:54:25

What does your husband think Unruly, could he confront his mam, could he cut her off?

empirestateofmind Fri 12-Aug-11 12:55:46

Nickschick shock

Why do these poisonous women behave like this?

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