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How does a soft-touch like me explain to MIL that I don't want DD around BIL?

(39 Posts)
IvyAndGold Tue 27-Sep-11 23:12:37

OK, a bit of background first. DP and BIL have never got on in any way. BIL has a history of violence, such as randomly jumping out of a car and breaking DP's nose, and towards a pregnant teacher when he was 18, to name but two.

This is obviously the main reason we don't want DD anywhere near him; he's violent and I don't trust him an inch. MIL, on the other hand, sits on the fence completely; she has said that she cannot and will not pick sides, they are both her sons, etc. I personally struggle to see how she manages this, but that is her decision.

Now, BIL, his equally vile and violent DP and her daughter are staying at MIL's from next Sunday to Thursday. They live about 200miles away thankfully, but come down every couple of months for a day or two. We recently moved quite close to MIL, so she has been able to see DD every couple of days, which everyone is happy about, but while BIL and Co are staying there, we don't want DD going round. MIL is Not Happy. Last time, she and DP got into a big argument about it, where she said that we were 'denying DD' and 'he will always be her uncle'.

I just know that MIL is going to ask me to take DD around while they are there. She knows that there is 0% chance if she asks DP, but that I'm a complete people-pleasing soft-touch sad I hate being one, but I am, and she knows it! Don't get me wrong, DD is not going round there. But how do I tell a stubborn and determined MIL without her getting majorly huffy and not leaving it alone? She is not a bad person at all; she has helped us an enormous amount over the past year, and she just loves showing DD off to anyone who will listen, and she loves everyone in her family regardless.

How do I politely make her understand that DD is never going to be having contact with people like that, family or not? Without sounding like a bitch, or that I'm being condescending? Help, oh wise MNers!

HazeltheMcWitch Tue 27-Sep-11 23:14:56

What about "I understand that you will always support him (BIL), he's your child. But DD is MY child, and I will do everything in my power to keep her safe, even if it is not to others' liking. So she will not be meeting BIL - ever."

Xales Tue 27-Sep-11 23:16:40

You are doing the right thing!

Simply tell her your DH & yourself agree and that you are not discussing this with her. Repeat.

If she doesn't stop tell her you will not continue the conversation and will hang up if she carries on about it.

If she keeps it up then perhaps polite is not the way to go.

HerHissyness Tue 27-Sep-11 23:22:11

If you know your DP can handle telling his mother no, then discuss this with him and let him know that if and when she tries to convince you to cave in, that you will refer her every single time to DP.

You don't have to do anything you don't want to do. You can refuse to discuss the matter.

TELL MIL that you love her, that you are grateful to her for everything she has done, and that you love the fact she is so proud of your DC BUT, DP and his brother are non-contact and you respect that, and fully support it.

Let her and DP get into a big to-do about it. stay well out and back your DP all the way, reminding MIL all the while how much SHE means to you.

DecapitatedLegoman Tue 27-Sep-11 23:24:22

If you're a soft touch you might find it easier to take the approach of: "I can understand how sad you must feel that the family aren't able to get together while BIL is here but we've made our decision based on his record of terrible behaviour and it is final. I am sorry for the disappointment it has caused you but we won't be changing our minds."

Say "we" lots - it reinforces that this is a joint decision and so you couldn't change it without your DH's say so anyway.

IvyAndGold Tue 27-Sep-11 23:44:44

Thanks for the replies smile Almost feel like I should be writing out a rough draft, so I've got something to roll out when she asks!

Her argument previously has been that 'he wouldn't do anything to her while I'm there'. '...while I'm there' pretty much sums it up I think! Also that DD is only a toddler, but I think if he'd do something to a pregnant teacher then anyone is fair game in his head, especially someone DP loves!

DP pointed out that she thought he wouldn't attack DP completely unprovoked, until he did it, or launch a book at a pregnant teacher, until he did it, but I think it just falls on deaf ears when it's about her family. BIL and his DP have also told MIL that they really want to meet DD, have tried, and that we are stopping them (surprisingly!). They've never acknowledged her existence, except a card to us all when we were at MIL's over last Christmas, which of obviously a show for MIL and must have bloody killed them to send!

I need to suck it up and make her realise that it's never going to happen, because I can see her asking me every time they're around. Wish I had a pair of proverbial balls and could just say what I was thinking! Or that she was a cow and I could drop the manners!

solidgoldbrass Tue 27-Sep-11 23:50:34

Do you really think this BIL is so demented that he will randomly savage a small child who is his niece? If so, how the fuck is he walking the streets and not locked up in a secure unit, if he is so utterly dangerous to all around?

OK, he threw a book at a pregnant woman, which isn't great, but you don't mention him having a string of murder convictions and this seems to have happened years ago. I think it is possible that you are being a little too paranoid and self-righteous about this.

<expects OP to come back and announce that BIL is in fact Raoul Moat risen from the dead and on bail for 150 counts of GBH at this very moment...>

seeker Tue 27-Sep-11 23:52:32

How long ago did all this stuff happen?

squeakytoy Tue 27-Sep-11 23:57:18

I agree with SGB too. Unless there have been recent incidents of violence, then it seems rather unfair to hold this against him for so long.

Throwing a book is hardly attempted murder, unless it was War and Peace or some other hefty thing. Granted, it isnt great behaviour, but at 18, some people do behave like idiots, then grow up.

Many brothers dont get on, especially as teens, but again grow up and do manage to have a relationship.

SheCutOffTheirTails Tue 27-Sep-11 23:59:28

It sounds like she has picked sides.

And she picked BIL.

I agree with the others - the violence isn't really the reason you won't have contact with him, is it?

It's just that your DP hates him and wants nothing to do with him

Which is up to him, but it's a bit silly to pretend it's a health and safety issue, when it's just bad blood between brothers.

lurkinginthebackground Wed 28-Sep-11 00:00:21

Trust your instinct.
Let your dp tell mil.
If she rings you say you will pass the message on to dp, if you cannot face telling her yourself. Personally I would tell her exactly what I thought but I am no people pleaser!!!!!!!

IvyAndGold Wed 28-Sep-11 00:01:50

Haha, no, he's not a Raoul Moat zombie! I don't think he would do anything absolutely hideous, but I certainly wouldn't put it past him or his DP giving her a bit of a shove or something if they were certain nobody was around. I know it sounds OTT but they really are that stupid and petty.

I don't know about the other incidents, but when he broke DP's nose, DP was put under massive pressure to drop the charges by MIL who has heart problems and is under zero stress orders. It seems he's just been lucky enough to not come across someone to go through and have him arrested.

The pregnant teacher thing was about six years ago. He broke DP's nose three months ago.

solidgoldbrass Wed 28-Sep-11 00:06:40

OK, if there is ongoing violence and he is the type who might shove a child then YANBU. Mind you, why did he attack your DP? Brothers do fight sometimes (My DS' dad picked his own brother up and threw him in a hedge about 15 years ago, they were both in their late 20s then).

WiiUnfit Wed 28-Sep-11 00:13:12

I agree with HeyHissyness in that you should refer her requests to DP, discuss with him first of course. This takes the heat off you & keeps you out of the firing line IYSWIM? DP sounds strong enough to deflect any requests.

MIL: 'Can you bring DD round to meet BIL?'
You: 'I'm not sure if DP would be happy with that, you'll have to ask him'
DP: 'No, I don't want DD near him'

IvyAndGold Wed 28-Sep-11 00:14:44

We honestly have no idea! We were walking back to the house with a couple of friends, and he and his DP, who had been passing through the area on the way back home, pulled up in a car. BIL jumped out with a metal bar in his hand, DP's friend grabbed the arm with the bar, so BIL swung his other fist and punched DP square in the face. Knocked him over, no mean feat, he's 6ft4! BIL jumped back in the car and they drove off before anyone could even process what had happened. His excuse to the rest of the family was that he thought DP and his friend were having a punch up and he got out to help DP... hmm

meditrina Wed 28-Sep-11 00:21:19

I think WiiUnfit's line is a good one.

The attack on your DP was recent, and all the difficult issues are within his family. It is for him to sort it out, and referring requests to him makes it very clear that is the person with whom any reconciliation must start.

izzywhizzyletsgetbusy Wed 28-Sep-11 03:08:08

Wish I had a pair of proverbial balls and could just say what I was thinking
Think of your dh's face when his nose was broken; think of your dd's face.

Feel something sprouting down below?

babyhammock Wed 28-Sep-11 07:08:20

He sounds very unpredictable and not a nice person. No wonder you don't want DD near him. Very wise.

As for MIL I agree with the poster that said she'd taken BIL's side. You can't stay neutral on something like without effectively supporting the violent party

peterpan99 Wed 28-Sep-11 08:46:30

my partner and i had the same problem. His brother hosptailised a man, and eventually ended up in prison. After we found out about the assult, we told his dad that we didnt want his brother around our daughter whilst the trial was ongoing etc. as just because he is related, doesnt mean he's not a violent criminal.
My partners dad is a massive twat anyway, and totally over reacted and stopped speaking to us, sending cards, and visiting us. This was nearly 2years ago now and still not a peep! My daughter is his first born (and only) grandchild aswell!

I would say stick to your guns! Its your childs saftey in the long run!
Luckily it seems the brother has genuinly reformed whilst in prison, and we will be seeing him when he gets out.

"But how do I tell a stubborn and determined MIL without her getting majorly huffy and not leaving it alone?"

I think you need to accept that you can't control how she responds to you telling her "no". If she gets huffy, she gets huffy. If she won't leave it alone, she won't leave it alone. There is literally no form of words available to man or woman that you can guarantee will stop this from happening.

All you can do is decide that her response can't be allowed to change yours. She can huff as much as she likes (and it might well be a lot. Especially if huffing has worked for her in the past). But ultimately that's her choice.

Then, when she's finished huffing, your decision will still stand.

Good luck in a tough situation.

thatboysmum Wed 28-Sep-11 22:01:04

I like to keep people happy and try not to offend where possible but sometimes when people are being so persistant after having been told no, why are we still worrying about upsetting the peace? They're clearly not worried about our feelings or what sort of atmosphere they're causing. If its something you feel strongly about then say, You don't need to be rude or have an argument, just be firm.
I have had a similar situation recently with my MIL. There came a point when it was necessary for me to speak up. Admittedly our relationship has not been the same as it was before, still a little tense, but to be honest I am quite happy with this as she was quite involved overbearing and has now had to take a step back.
I would say something along the lines of 'I understand it isn't nice to see but this is how WE feel. We are very grateful for all you do and love having you as big a part of our lives as you are, we would obviously hate for this to come beween us but this is a decision that WE have come to and we hope that you can at least respect it even if you do disagree with it' and leave it at that if she carries on I would just meet the topic with 'I'm not discussing it anymore'.

Inertia Thu 29-Sep-11 00:06:07

How your MIL feels isn't important.

I agree that you need to have a line ready, maybe "BIL violently assaulted DH a few weeks ago. We will not put my child , or ourselves , at risk of further violence." And the whatever excuses platitudes she trots out, you can respond with " We will not take the risk of further violence and will not discuss it nor change our minds".

Don't enter into a debate; be willing to put the phone down. Your child's safety is worth stopping being a soft touch over.

starfishmummy Thu 29-Sep-11 01:01:55

Just practice saying a simple "no". You don't have to justify your decision to MIL. If you start telling her why then it opens a dialogue where she will probably try various methods to get you to change your mind. Don't give her a chance.

perfectstorm Thu 29-Sep-11 01:15:42

I think you just say, "I won't go behind DH's back and it is really unfair of you to try and make me. Please talk to him about it." Because that is exactly what she will be doing. She may be lovely, but it's appallingly manipulative behaviour. Especially as I very much doubt your not-so-D BIL will give a stuff.

I don't mean to sound judgey, but if he's never been made to face consequences by his mother, and she makes excuses for everything and denies the realities, then perhaps his behaviour is less inexplicable.

perfectstorm Thu 29-Sep-11 01:19:29

"As for MIL I agree with the poster that said she'd taken BIL's side. You can't stay neutral on something like without effectively supporting the violent party."

I completely agree. It's sadly almost normal in families where abuse occurs. The victim is pressured into shutting up, and any noise about what the reality is and they are blamed for causing the problem. This is violent abuse, even if his mother won't see it. If he'd done that to his wife her reaction would be the same.

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