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Please help me counsel my poor brother who finds himself as piggy-in-the-middle between our DM and his DMiL

(29 Posts)
PacificDogwood Wed 07-Nov-12 22:15:37

Our DM phoned my DB's MiL to wish her a belated birthday as she could not reach her yesterday.
Whatever happened next, nobody know, but the conversation ended with them having a major fall out as my mum, apparently, critisied my SiL. This is entirely possible and likely as DM and my SiL don't get on.
MiL tell her daughter who tells my DB who tell me grin.

My nice DB now feels he ought to smooth things over.

I, otoh, being the hardnosed bitch I am, think he should leave well alone and let the two adult women sort it out themselves.

There is of course history behind this, I don't want to dripfeed, but really v boring: my parents don't approve of my DB's choice of wife.

So, Relationship Gurus, what is your take on this? Should my brother try to be an intermediary here or stay well out of it??
Over to you.

AThingInYourLife Wed 07-Nov-12 22:17:27

Your brother should stick up for his wife.

waltermittymissus Wed 07-Nov-12 22:17:30

He should stay the hell out of it and not even dip his toe in those waters!

I'm sorry but I'm laughing! blush

Gumby Wed 07-Nov-12 22:19:32

Your mOther doesn't sound nice

ImperialBlether Wed 07-Nov-12 22:24:04

So your mum rang up and in the midst of wishing your MIL a happy birthday, slagged off her daughter? Why? How the hell did she think that was appropriate?

BackforGood Wed 07-Nov-12 22:32:08

He should Stay out of it.
As you say - they are two adults who clearly are either
a) one a bit tactless and the other oversensitive
b) one extremely rude and the other should know this and not rise to the bait.

If they don't like each other / particualrly get on, then why on earth would your M phone her to say Happy Birthday ? confused

waltermittymissus Wed 07-Nov-12 22:33:25

Oh dear. I thought this was a lighthearted thread. Oops!

<backs away slowly>

PacificDogwood Wed 07-Nov-12 22:33:35

Believe me, I am laughing too - or I would be if it wasn't quite horrible for my DB and his wife... They live in a different country from me which I am often very, very relieved about.

My mother, well, my parents have <ahem> boundary issues. They have been unable to stay out of my DB's relationship since they first met several years ago (married for 5 years, 1 daughter).

I have no idea how a conversation goes from 'Happy Birthday' to 'Your daughter is a rubbish wife, poor house keeper and not making my son happy' shock or some such rubbish.

I agree my DB needs to grow a pair, stop trying to make everybody happy and stick up for his wife, but I don't feel it is his responsibility to negotiate between our mum and his MiL (who I barely know). My SiL who I like btw, but don't see v often (different countries and all that) does have her own difficulties which she is not always able to deal with as effectively as might be desirable (she has OCD), but surely that is NOT for my mum to comment on the HER mum?? FFS <<dispairs>>

AThingInYourLife Wed 07-Nov-12 22:41:55

It's not for your mother to comment on to anyone.

If your mother has been rude about his wife to his MIL he's already in it.

"Staying out" is just being a coward.

His wife has been insulted to her own mother.

He should stick up for her, regardless of the fact that it was his mother being objectionable.

SamSmalaidh Wed 07-Nov-12 22:52:40

He needs to call his DM and tell her to bloody well behave!

AThingInYourLife Wed 07-Nov-12 23:02:11


PacificDogwood Wed 07-Nov-12 23:04:18

Oh, our DM has been pulled up about her behaviour many times, but just has no insight as she 'means well' - 'meaning well' is her Get Out of Jail Card for a multitude of transgressions. I can see v little chance of her mending her ways at this point.
I am not defending her actions, far from it, but I don't see how my DB should it is his role to try and make peace between the 2 women.
This is not whether or not he is sticking up for his wife - he is - but whether he should speak to our DM about how she behave towards his MiL. That, I feel, would be unwise.

Btw, v sorry about the typos in my OP, I am quite literate, normally blush.

AThingInYourLife Wed 07-Nov-12 23:08:30

His role isn't to make peace between them.

His role is to tell his mother not to be a rude bitch to his mother in law.

I have no idea what you mean when you say it would be "unwise", except that either your mother has access to some kind of advanced weaponry, or that you are afraid of her and think she must be pandered to.

Cluffyfunt Wed 07-Nov-12 23:19:41

Do you think that your brother and you may be 'conditioned' to suck up and mean/unkind of behaviour from your DM?

I can see that sometimes it is easier to let it slide but your sil and her DM will see if differently.

I would be hurt and feel betrayed if my DH didn't tell his DM that she was being a cow (if she was).

It sounds like your DM was being nasty and having a dig.

If someone was being unpleasant about my DD, well let's just say they wouldn't want to do it again!

PacificDogwood Wed 07-Nov-12 23:22:58

No, my concern is the level of Chinese Whispers going as to what was actually said during this phoned conversation:
Our mum says whatever which offends DB's Mil who tells her daughter who tells my DB who tells me.
No, my mother does not need pandering to, but I have reached a point in my life where I accept fully the I cannot change somebody else's behaviour - if my mother wishes to have any kind of relationship with her son and her granddaughter then she needs to look at her communication skills/behaviour; stop critising DSIiL and overstepping bounderies All The Frigging Time. My DM is a nightmare - she is not enjoying herself much and I live in hope that maybe, one day, she will accept treatment for her longstanding depression (not my diagnosis, but she has never accepted there is a problem), address her issues with her own upbringing and Back Off!

I disagree that it should be my brother's to tell our mother not to be rude to his MiL. It would be 'unwise' because it puts him in the line of fire between the two women. We don't actually know what has been said - the converstation did not take place in front of him.

SarkyWench Wed 07-Nov-12 23:29:18

If his mother is insulting his wife then it is his business.
Regardless of who she said the insults to.

AThingInYourLife Wed 07-Nov-12 23:30:30

He IS in the line of fire between the two women.

He (and his poor maligned wife) are the only reason hey have any contact with each other.

"We don't actually know what has been said"

Well let's look at what we do know:

1. Your mother is difficult and very rude to people
2. She disapproves of your SIL
3. She is unafraid of voicing that disapproval
4. Your SIL is aware of her disapproval and it upsets her
5. She rang your SIL's mother and criticised your SIL

You have to really be craning your neck to avoid staring at the bleeding obvious here.

PacificDogwood Wed 07-Nov-12 23:30:58

Cluffy, oh no, you see I am very capable of telling my mother were to go and frequently have - therefore I have a much better relationship with her. My biggest advantage is that I live several hundred miles away from her and she no longer pushes my buttons - middleage (mine) gives great serenity grin.

My DB otoh is a people pleaser and from the start has never enforced bounderies. He lives 3 miles down the road from our parents. They were given a key to his house, for 'emergencies', so they let themselves in. They critisis DSiL's housekeeping, their way of raising their daughter, anything the poor child does not excel in is down to her mother's parenting or lack thereof, and so on and so forth.
My stoopid lovely DB always, always tries to smooth the waves, negotiate, tries to get both sides to see sense, when a line would have needed to be drawn in the sand a long time ago.
At the same time he sometimes relies on our parents to let builders in, occasional childcare, help in the garden hmm. He needs to grow up. He's 42 btw shock.

I just get to hear about these recurring events on the phone and am dumbstruck by the dysfunctionality of it all.
I said to him I'd put it to the MN jury, so thanks for everybody's thoughts.

AThingInYourLife Wed 07-Nov-12 23:32:23

He doesn't sound that lovely, really.

His poor wife having to put up with that sad

Cluffyfunt Wed 07-Nov-12 23:33:14

I think your DB shoul politely but firmly let your DM know that she has no right to criticise his DW (unless your sil is evil personified obv!)

How is your sil about all this?

PacificDogwood Wed 07-Nov-12 23:33:21

Well, he cannot stop our mother from saying whatever she is going to say.
He has frequently asked her to stop being critical/interfere.
She doesn't.
So, does he need to stop contact with our mother?
He'd never be able to do that, I don't think.

Cluffyfunt Wed 07-Nov-12 23:38:10

This will damage their marriage sad

I would feel so unloved if I were your sil.
I would also lose respect for my DH. Bit by bit it would chip away.

Can you imagin the advise your sil would get if she posted about it here?

AThingInYourLife Wed 07-Nov-12 23:38:38

Just because he can't stop her doesn't mean he shouldn't say something to her when she is obnoxious.

And he has a long way to go before cutting contact.

How about calling her on her bullshit instead of "smoothing things over" while she bullies your SIL?

PacificDogwood Wed 07-Nov-12 23:38:49

DSil isn't happy about any of this, obv.
She does not get on well with her parents either.
I don't dislike her and get on well with her when we see each other which is maybe 1-2x a year.
Her OCD can be very severe and stop her from working/being able to leave the house etc. She at times has problems with compulsive shopping and hoarding. As far as my parents are concerned, these kind of mental health issues don't exist hmm and she 'should pull herself together'.

I do feel sorry for having to put up with all that.
OTOH, my DB has been the main earner/shopper/cook/childcarer/organiser of her care/driver etc for many years. He has very much stuck up for her, but not to the point of cutting contact with our parents.
(My dad is just as critical of DSil btw, just more diplomatic.... This thread is not about him, but he does not help).

PacificDogwood Wed 07-Nov-12 23:40:23

'Calling her on it' - that is exactly what he need to do, AThing, and then stick by his guns.
He just always caves, because mum cries and is all unhappy and he get The Guilt - oh gawd, I am glad to be far away from it all.

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