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Interferring MIL....what do I do next.

(12 Posts)
Andrea157 Thu 04-Aug-11 10:29:12

Was wondering if anyone would be able to offer me any advice please - I lost my darling husband very recently due to terminal cancer, we have a little girl aged 2. My husband knew my MIL's next door neighbour worked in the capacity of Law and asked him to help me wind up my husbands estate (as I am his sole executor), which he accepted.

This is were things start to go off the track a little. I've stayed at my MIL's periodically for a weekend here and there over the past few months since my husband passed away, even though I've never been particually keen (due to a huge argument dating back to Aug 09' and Jan 10'), but I had to put that behind me for the sake of my daughter even though each and every single time I've gone to stay with her I've always came back home with the overwhelming feeling of us (or me) being a huge inconvenience to her, even though she is the one that has initiated it. I thought to myself I really can't do this anymore - and I do not object to my in-laws coming to visit or vice versa.

I e-mailed my MIL and said in a nice and pleasant way that I really prefered staying at home and besides my little one needs continuous continuity in her life, I ended the e-mail stating that we'd look forward to there visit the following week. She then starting using emotional black mail saying that "It 's what my husband would have wanted" and they were "getting older", especially my father-in-law. It's a well known fact in my extended family circle that my MIL is highly manipulative, controlling and doesn't always tell the truth and tries to cover her tracks by telling more fibs. I was a little surprised and quite upset at her using my husband in this way - my husband (bless him) knew very well that I was never always keen to stay with his mum and he told me before he passed away "not to trust his family". I e-mailed her to say that I didn't quite agree with the fact that she was using my late husband in this particuarly inappropriate manner. I heard nothing from her for a whole week - which is very unusual

Usually when my in-laws visit they come at the usual time of 10am (like clockwork) - my daughter and I waited in until 1:45pm for them to show up - eventually we went out for a wander to our local shopping arena and we got back home again at 4pm - whilst putting our coats away I noticed a note had been put through our letterbox saying that they had come at 2:30pm and no one was home - I have to admit I got a tad annoyed at this and e-mailed her to say that we waited in for them and when they didn't show up at the usual time I thought that perhaps they had changed their mind or had other plans, I also explained that I wasn't going to stay in the whole day with a fractious 2 y/o pending that they show up or not. I received an e-mail the following morning in big bold letters informing me that "The cleaner comes at 10:30am, they went to visit my husband and pressumed that I had the afternoon free and I should have called them to enquire what time they'd be coming down to visit.. I was very annoyed at her manner.

Then to add insult to injury, I received a phone call from MIL's next door neighbour (the gentleman helping me with my late husbands estate - *I had to terminate his employment with myself, and I re-appointned a new solicitor) informing me that my MIL had popped round to see him to enquire regarding my daughter's financial welfare...I was now furious! I tried to leave things until I calmed myself down - but the more I thought about it, the more infuriated I became and I e-mailed her to express my sheer indignation and disgust that she went behind my back to speak to her neighbour regarding my daughter's financial welfare without my knowledge or consent and I stated to her that anything that involves my daughter goes passed me first of all and I told her that anything that I did now, or in the future is no one else's business except mine. 3 weeks have now gone passed and I've not heard anything from her (which I'm pleased about) - but I feel sad for my daughter and my father-in-law (who is a innocent party in all of this fiasco) - I have to admit my head is still reeling from my husband's passing and I don't know if I've been too sensitive regarding this whole situation - but I'd dearly like anyone's thoughts / comment / advice or opinions please on what to do next .

Thank you for taking the time to read this,

P/S: apologies if my post is all a bit over the place - a bit like my poor head :-(

exexpat Thu 04-Aug-11 10:46:53

Bereavement does bring out the worst in some people's characters, unfortunately. I have managed to keep on friendly terms with my in-laws since DH died (nearly five years ago), but they live several hundred miles away and I have always been a very independent person. But I have heard of a lot of stories like yours - have you been on the Merry Widow discussion board? Nightmare in-law stories are very common on there - controlling, money-grabbing, ignoring etc.

I can't offer any advice, really - I guess just try to stay calm and keep the moral high ground. Have you nearly finished dealing with probate now? Once that is out of the way, there is less for your MiL to stick her beak into. I suppose you have to bear in mind that it is still early days and she is grieving too so may not be behaving entirely rationally.

If you leave some time for things calm down a bit, perhaps you could try to rebuild bridges via your FiL, so that your daughter can keep a relationship with her grandparents, while you keep MiL at arms' length.

Andrea157 Thu 04-Aug-11 10:55:42

Thank you exexpat for your advice -I'm so sorry to hear that your DH has passed away, life is very cruel and takes away good, honest folk. Sadly my FIL doesn't keep very well (dementia and parkinson's). I completely understand that she has lost her son, but I've lost my husband and my wee one has lost her daddy - something that she will never understand (sorry if this sounds cold-hearted). Will check out the Merry Widow board - thanks.

ImperialBlether Thu 04-Aug-11 10:56:49

She sounds like a very difficult woman and I think you're right to keep your distance.

However, she has just lost her son, hasn't she? So just as you'd want allowances made for you (quite rightly) so allowances should be made for her.

I don't know what you can do. I think a different lawyer would be better. Why did you not phone her when she wasn't there at 10? Why didn't you phone her about the note? It seems strange to wait in without phoning.

SarahBumBarer Thu 04-Aug-11 10:58:36

I'm so very sorry for your loss.

I'm also extremely hesitant to criticse you because you are clearly going through a lot right now but there are definitely things which you could have done better.

For example - what is with all the emailing etc? Why not just have said to MIL while you were there "look it seems like it is quite hard work/an inconvenience for you to have us to stay so why don't you come to us sometimes". Was it because you knew she would say that she likes having you whereas by email you just set it out your way and she really gets no room to put her view forward?

Also if you know someone is coming to visit don't you agree a time rather than make assumptions? And if they do not turn up when you expect, don't you call them or text them to see where they are (make sure they have not had an accident if nothing else) - not just go out?

It comes across to me very much as if you are deliberately trying to find a way to get them out of your life.

Fine if that is what you want for your DD and no doubt there are good reasons why you may feel this way but it is not a choice I would make on behlf of my children (ie cutting off their GP's). Personally I would try again with them, on your terms, absolutely, but make a bit more of an effort to communicate properly.

With regard to the next door neighbour - I am not really sure what happened there - did he answer MIL's questions or just politely tell her that it was confidential? Did she pop round specifically to ask or did it just come up. Either way - it seems you have dealt with it now by sacking the next door neighbour.

bananasplitz Thu 04-Aug-11 11:02:41

you both sound wrong

she is just as devastated as you that her son has died.

Both of you could have rang each other to ask/say when they were arriving. You knew they were coming that day, when they didnt get there at 10, why didnt you call instead of just going out (which i imagine was a bit of a thumbed nose at her). She should also have said what time she would be there.

I would have a sit down with her and say look, things are getting out of hand. Be Honest, say I am sorry for the things i have done/said and then let her have her say.

Otherwise your daughter will be the one who suffers

squeakytoy Thu 04-Aug-11 11:46:16

So sorry for your loss.

I think the emailing is causing part of this issue. Speak to each other. Words on an email can be misconstrued and taken the wrong way. Pick up a phone, and talk to each other.

Andrea157 Thu 04-Aug-11 12:03:52

Thank you everyone for your responses to my post. Things are very difficult here for me at the moment, being a young widow with a very young child is a horrible and very sad place to be.

My MIL is a lady used to having her own way and she is not the most easiest of people to talk to - I've had 12 years experience of this! She manipulates and twist everything and anything you say - my husband had to deal with this on almost a day to day basis.

I will try and sort things out with her for the sake of my daughter and FIL. Thanks again for your advice and comments.

Lemonylemon Thu 04-Aug-11 12:29:03

Andrea: As previously suggested, get yourself over to the merry widow site - you'll get lots of support there.

Unfortunately, and I speak from personal experience, things may be difficult for all of you for a while. (I lost my son's Dad a few years back and my ex-outlaws were an absolute bloody nightmare). Emotions are running very high on both sides at the moment. You have lost your husband, your daughter has lost her dad and your MIL has lost her child (and they are always children, no matter how old they are). I would take a step back and just concentrate on you and your daughter for the moment.

Forget emailing your MIL, it's so often the case that the tone comes over wrong and that misunderstandings arise. First off, I would speak to your MIL's neighbour who is dealing with the probate and ask that he doesn't enter into conversations with your MIL regarding your family's finances. At the end of the day, this has absolutely nothing to do with your MIL. This is something I would not back down on. If the neighbour gets funny about this, then I think you'll have to change solicitors and employ a local firm to finish up the probate.

Andrea157 Thu 04-Aug-11 12:37:21

Thanks Lemonylemon, I have changed solicitors already - there were a lot of underlying issues going on there, which I have not mentioned. I also spoke to my friends husband who is a criminal lawyer and he said things didn't sit well with him either.

I'm doing my darn'dest when it comes to looking after my little poppet and I will continue to put her first and foremost regardless to how I feel - she is my world.

I'm not one to pry into anyone's business and I feel very strongly that my MIL has inquire too inquisitively about my own personal affairs - not even my own dad would do this!

Thanks xx

ShoutyHamster Thu 04-Aug-11 14:03:03

So sorry for your loss.

As others have said, emotions are running high on both sides, understandably. That's part of it. But also - as your own husband warned you, and who would know better than he? - your MIL sounds like a potential thorn in your side.

If that's the case, and it's not just the grief right now talking, then you are taking all the right steps. What has actually happened? You have built bridges after your argument (good). MIL appears to have started to try on the controlling behaviour that you imply that your husband had to deal with (emotional blackmail, being high-handed with you)- but you tell her in no uncertains terms that you won't take it (you don't wait in all day for them, you tell her straight that you don't appreciate her using his name to guilt you). Again - GOOD. MIL tries to nose into your personal and financial affairs - you clamp down on that firmly by changing solicitors. Excellent. You are giving her the appropriate messages loud and clear - don't think you can mess me around!
If she is manipulative and controlling by nature, she will either knuckle down and accept that she can't get away with it with you, and your relationship will end up ok, OR she will carry on kicking off... and you will probably walk away. With your husband gone, I'll bet that she'll do the former. She must know by your responses so far that if she pushes her luck, she'll probably lose the both of you.

What I am trying to say is, if she is going to be a pain, she will be - it's your response that counts. You seem well able to tell her where to get off, and have no issue with publicly setting the boundaries. Stick to that, and it will really be up to her whether SHE maintains a good relationship with you. You have buried the hatchet for your daughter's sake before so I assume that as long as MIL doesn't overstep things, you'll be only too happy for the relationahip to continue.

So. Put her antics out of your mind. YOU know where your boundaries are. Be upfront in the way you have so far, and I think things will settle down.

Andrea157 Thu 04-Aug-11 14:30:22

Bless you ShoutyHamster xx

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