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

(44 Posts)
Unrulysun Fri 12-Aug-11 12:32:40

I've posted this in Parenting as well but I though you emotionally literate lot might have some ideas?

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?

If dh or I confront MIL directly it will lead to 'Well we don't want to see you then'. And then the question is whether a relationship with your granny who can sometimes say things which are really nasty is better than none at all...

lettingitallgonow Fri 12-Aug-11 12:35:10

shock first of all... What a horrible person, I'd be having no relationship with a person who said things like that to anyone, let alone my DD. Surely you don't actually want a person like that around you?

Unrulysun Fri 12-Aug-11 12:39:48

Yes I know, I think my thing is that if we don't have any contact then dd might, as she grows up, think it was to do with her. So I think that if they only see her once a month it's limiting their contact but it's all normal. DH didn't see his gps growing up because of some random row about nothing, he feels really angry about it...

I feel very conflicted. And over in Parenting they're saying the same thing...

cookielove Fri 12-Aug-11 12:40:23

If that was my MIL i personally would not want her around my child, and if i were the child in question, i think that no relationship with her would be heaps better than one where she was and utter cow.

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

What about 'That's a silly thing for Granny to say. Daddy wasn't rough with you, was he? He was just playing with you.'? Do you think she'd get the message after a few replies like that?

If she doesn't, I'd ask her not to say things like that to your DD. In the end, it's her choice whether she reacts appropriately and stops, or whether she over-reacts and breaks contact.

Disengage Unrulysun. Your DD (and you and your DH) do not need a person like that in their lives at all. There are so many wrong mesasges been sent to her here.

Let MIL be good on her threats of not wanting to see you. Really, plenty of children grow up without GPs and a toxic one like this is not needed and should definitely not be encouraged.

Look after your daughter (said in kindly old aunt type of way not like a headmistress smile).

didyouseewhatshedid Fri 12-Aug-11 12:55:18

Your daughter is going to meet all kinds of people as she grows up and in her life. Perhaps she needs to learn to take the good with the bad for herself and make her own mind up. I'm not sure why you feel the need to act as a filter as to what she hears OP.

Because she is her parent, she cares about her, her DD is only 15 months and at the moment doesn't get a choice about who she is in contact with Nor has she the capabilities of processing and analysing the messages given to her at this present time.

lettingitallgonow Fri 12-Aug-11 13:02:09

Is there also the question around the example you are setting to your DD?

By not saying anything are you showing her that it's ok to put up with people saying horrible stuff to you or your DD. It's a fine line between being polite and accepting some people are different and that's 'ok' and not standing up for yourself or your DD.

ThisIsANiceCage Fri 12-Aug-11 13:05:01

Maybe let her have contact when she's old enough to make her own decisions? Tell her, "Granny isn't quite right, and often says very nasty things. We didn't want her doing that to you when you were little, but you can meet her now if you like. And if you don't want to see her, that's also fine."

didyousee having Random Person on Street say stuff, is very different from growing up in what everyone is pretending is a loving relationship with lots of morally loaded expectations, as you do with family. It's difficult and rather damaging to learn to brush off personal comments by people you'd like to love and look up to.

Dignified Fri 12-Aug-11 13:08:48

She sounds horrible , and i dont think id have her around my child . As others have said , it sets a bad example .

Unrulysun Fri 12-Aug-11 13:20:28

Thanks - in haste right now because dd woke up early but there's some really good advice here (and I now have a kindly old aunt to make up for my witch of a MIL smile )

The Parenting people say the same actually. Will check back in later but the advice seems to be overwhelmingly 'Leave her!' wink

JustCallMeMrsTeabag Fri 12-Aug-11 13:37:54

DYSWSD, your comment is a complete load of old conkers. Ditto what HDSrG said.

OP, you sound much too nice and concillatory. Pull evil MIL up on this now. Be very firm and very clear. Tell her you will not tolerate her using her grandchild as a way of making snide remarks aimed at you. If she has something to say, tell her to say it to you or shut the fuck up, and start acting like a normal granny.

Otherwise, personally, I'd be kicking that saggy granny arse out of our lives. I wouldn't want that manipulative toxic woman anywhere near my child. If she's like this now, I dread to think what she's going to be like as your DD gets older.

happygilmore Fri 12-Aug-11 13:49:15

She sounds horrible, was she like that with your DH?

I think as a parent it's up to you to say - please do not say things like that, and repeat until they get the message. If they kick off and decide not to see you - their choice. By tiptoeing around the issue I think it encourages it (and I speak as someone who lets my own MIL get away with pretty outrageous comments so I know how hard it is).

exoticfruits Fri 12-Aug-11 14:03:12

Since MIL is getting at you through DD instead of direct I wouldn't get back directly, or even let her know that the comments affect you.
I would stay very bright and breezy, with a smile.

e.g.
MIL 'your mummy's wicked, isn't she'

Unrulysun-laughing-'yes mummy's a wicked old witch-coming to get you and pounce and tickle or cuddle'.

MIL 'Your Daddy is so rough with you'

Unrulysun-in deep funny voice 'yes he is nasty old billygoat gruff-coming to get you' -again laugh-pick up and cuddle.

'MIL 'we will all hate you when you are 15yrs' (I don't think you need to worry as 15yrs is an impossible concept to a 15mth old)

Unrulysun -to MIL-Actually I'm really looking forward to teenage years (non confrontational-with a friendly smile)

MIL 'When mummy has a new baby she will forget all about you'

Unrulysun to DD-new baby can't wait to have a big sister-we will all have lots of fun.

If you make it light hearted-are not direct-change the subject-she hasn't got a leg to stand on. The worst you can do with someone who wants to 'get at you' is to not appear to notice.

I wouldn't leave DD alone with her as she may get very negative. If DD says anything to you, just say something like 'granny is a bit silly sometimes-we are all a bit silly sometimes'.

.

exoticfruits Fri 12-Aug-11 14:06:42

I'd be kicking that saggy granny arse out of our lives. I wouldn't want that manipulative toxic woman anywhere near my child.

I wouldn't advocate that approach at all, she is one of the DDs closest blood relatives and may grow upto have a completely different relationship with her. It is very possessive to be making such decisions about my child. (as if they are a possession and not a person)

LoonyRationalist Fri 12-Aug-11 14:44:20

You need to broach this now & get it under control. I would not let someone who could come out with such things be a part of my DD's lives. If you must stay in contact then you need to stand up to every statement. This kind of thing is really insidious & long term is very bad for everyone exposed to it

Thumbwitch Fri 12-Aug-11 14:51:12

I'd be tempted (but probably wouldnt) to make some comment along the lines of "don't worry, Granny's Alzheimer's is playing up again, you know how she says silly things when that happens" - which would send a message to both your DD and MIL. It could work, but if she's that twisted, she could just up the ante and get nastier.

I woud most likely reduce contact and as DD gets older remind her that Granny is Very Old and says some very silly things at times, and DD is not to pay any attention to them because they are so silly.

OurPlanetNeptune Fri 12-Aug-11 15:06:58

I would never expose my child to such a vile human being.

cheekydino Fri 12-Aug-11 15:36:49

I grew up with an 'evil' granny who used to say horrible things, and looking back I wish I hadn't been exposed to her as she caused much upset. I don't remember much from when I was very little (and we only saw her a few times a year) but my earliest memories of her are of her saying things to deliberately wind me up and cause family arguments and divisions - eg she used to make a big fuss of my older brother and pointedly say how nice he was/ how good his pictures were/ how handsome he was etc. When my parents split up she told me it was no wonder with a child like me and even told me it was because my dad was violent (and she told me not to mention this to anyone else, causing weeks of upset until my parents got it out of me). He's never raised a finger to anyone in his life! My mum stopped seeing her then and for the last few years of her life we didn't have any contact with her. From speaking to my parents, they regret not nipping her manipulative and catty comments in the bud when we were younger when they were apparently less awful (similar to the things you mention), especially as they often caused arguments between me and my brother.

Not sure if that is helpful, as she may well be a very different person from your MIL, but there did seem to be some similarities - almost an enjoyment of seeing others upset and a desire to get some kind of emotional control over the family now that her role in her son's life is less significant. I think you should try and make her aware now of how hurtful/ wrong her comments are as others have suggested, and never underestimate the damage a toxic relative can have on your family. If she doesn't stop then avoid her! Your dd is not your 'possession' as someone suggested, but you are responsible for her emotional welfare and surely that includes deciding what kind of people you wish her to be exposed to? I don't think that blood relatives should automatically have the right to treat people badly and carry on doing it just because of their 'blood connection'. But then maybe I am biased from having some pretty awful relatives, in the same way that others may be biased from not having any!

exoticfruits Fri 12-Aug-11 15:42:27

This 'vile human being' is her grandmother! Her DH's mother not some random old woman!
I am not surprised that families have difficulties-don't be surprised if your DIL decides that you are a 'vile human being' one day and cuts you off.
It is also a very strange message to the DD who has a lot of this woman's genes-it seems to say 'if you take after your grandmother (which she might-you don't get to choose) I don't want to know you'! I wouldn't want my mother telling me that a large part of my makeup is likely to be vile!

You just need to find a way to live with her (not too close) that finds a way of getting on.

exoticfruits Fri 12-Aug-11 15:46:09

maybe I will revise my opinion after cheekydino's post-but I do think that you ought to try and get on first. There is really no need to be wound up by her-smile, deleberately misunderstand and be bright and breezy and change the subject. This is far more upsetting to someone like that than outright hostility.

Continuum Fri 12-Aug-11 15:48:12

Tell her what she's saying is not acceptable and if she decides not to see her grandchild because she can't just spout any old evil shit at her then it is her choice that saying nasty things about you two is much more important than a proper relationship with your dc.

usualsuspect Fri 12-Aug-11 15:52:47

saggy granny arse?shock

exoticfruits Fri 12-Aug-11 15:56:14

I really don't see why people always have to be so confrontational when you can sideline her completely by failing to get it and have fun staying one step ahead!
My DSs always wound each other up and they would never do the one thing that would really upset the other and ignore. I was expecting too much-adults don't seem to get it either.
This woman is deliberately winding you up-if you really want to upset her-don't raise to the bait!

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