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Should I apologise to dh for his mum?

(12 Posts)
frisquire Mon 27-Jun-11 17:06:22

Feel a bit of a fool. Dh has never really got on with his mum. They argue a lot when we see her. But it is ususally in the boisterous discussion style over politics etc rather than anything nasty. I keep out of it grin.

Anyway, sometimes dh tells me stories about her - not noticing that he he was being badly bullied, her insisting he wore short trousers to school which would make situation worse (they could, as a family, afford long trousers for him-easily so). To be honest, I just listen and try not to slag her off myself. I don't doubt my dh, but I've never actively got involved in slagging her off myself, I've always tried to see the good in her and say things like, 'She seems a good person' and so on.

Now something has happened and I realise what a bitch she is. They were having an argument about something or nothing. About a political matter that was not about THEIR relationship at all. My dh was NOT personally abusive to HER - just putting his point across (she also is not afraid of putting her point across!). Anyway, all of a sudden, she declares: '** (her son-in-law's name) is a better son to me than you'll ever be!'
Wholly inappropriate and out of line, I thought. I feel bad as I've always sort of brushed aside any nastiness he claims of her. Should I acknowledge that she is a bitch to him and that I should have sympathised more in past -which I feel I should do- or let it go?

reelingintheyears Mon 27-Jun-11 17:08:26

Keep on staying out of it.

If you get on ok with her then keep it civil.

TrilllianAstra Mon 27-Jun-11 17:12:04

You shouldn't apologise to him for her.

But if you have acted as if you didn't believe him when he told stories of her behaviour, and now you do believe him, then you could let him know.

frisquire Mon 27-Jun-11 17:18:34

I've never acted as if I disbelieve him, but because she has been largely good to me, not wished to slag her off myself. I've been mistaken; what a thing to say to him! It wasn't in retaliation for an abusive comment to her at all.
I'll just let him know that I now understand how horrible she can be and that I feel for him. Be keeping it civil only from now on, though, not rude, impolite or horrible-just civil. Ta.

pengymum Mon 27-Jun-11 17:19:31

My advice is to keep out of it! Most families it is ok for siblings/children to laugh and 'slag' off each other and parents BUT if anyone else does it, it is a personal attack and not tolerated!
Be sympathetic but don't take sides or it may come back and bite you on the bum big time!

proudnscaryvirginmary Mon 27-Jun-11 17:28:08

Hold on, I think you should apologise. Why are you even asking? By that I mean it's not a big deal to hug him and say 'so sorry I really saw how she hurt you there, I didn't realise she could be vicious' surely?

You don't have to fall on your knees and beg forgiveness but you definitely should acknowledge the fact that you have, as you say 'dismissed' his feelings and versions of events.

I completely agree with all above about butting out of the arguments and family politics. And I appreciate you've done what you think's best and tried to be gracious and positive about her.

But if someone was posting on here saying 'my mum ignored me being bullied as a child and can be abusive yet my husband brushes aside and dismisses my hurt' people would have a very different reaction.

amverytired Mon 27-Jun-11 17:50:01

Yes, I think you should let your DH know that you now understand what he has had growing up. My dh had a horrible childhood - I always downplayed it as I simply couldn't imagine that anyone would do such things on purpose (coming from a relatively normal family). I eventually copped on and have spoken to him often about it now. It helps that he also is having therapy.

frisquire Mon 27-Jun-11 18:09:23

You're right, ladies, like I said, I'm going to say that I should have been more sympathetic (not that I was UNsympathetic as such) towards him. What a f*** bitch she is, after all. She'll get nothing from me from now on apart from cold politeness. No more inviting her down, let her invite herself! Hopefully, she'll stay away for long periods. Poor dh.

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 27-Jun-11 19:12:31

Hi frisquire,

I think your situation is very similar to amverytired's comment detailed below:-

"My dh had a horrible childhood - I always downplayed it as I simply couldn't imagine that anyone would do such things on purpose (coming from a relatively normal family)".

This is very true. People who fortunately come from families where such familial dysfunction is unkwown find it very difficult to fully comprehend this type of behaviour for what it actually is because it is unknown to them personally.

I would suggest you read Toxic Inlaws written by Susan Forward (he could read Toxic Parents). You and your DH need to put on a united front towards his mother however you wish to tackle her in future.

Inertia Tue 28-Jun-11 11:11:18

Not so much apologise for his mother's behaviour, but perhaps you could explain that you have only just had your eyes opened to the extent of her nastiness, and you're sorry if it seemed that you were not fully supportive of your DH in the past.

crestico Tue 28-Jun-11 13:07:54

man's POV here:
stay out of it, but let him know you're there if he needs to talk

frisquire Tue 28-Jun-11 13:14:31

I will be staying out of it. I will be offering support if he wishes to talk, however, my view of this woman is irrevocably altered now, and I have cooled greatly towards her. This is not to say that I am actually out to cause more grief; just that I cannot bring myself to be anything other than coolly polite to her. Sorry, but I can't.
Don't get to see her for more than a handful of times a year- thank god- so this hopefully won't be too hard. She may think that I have cooled towards her- let her think that. As long as I am not openly hostile, there should not be a problem.

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