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WWYD MIL has gone too far

(51 Posts)
Doneinagain Sat 10-Nov-12 21:50:04

I could really use some advice about how to treat my MIL as I want to run for the hills and protect my children but feel bad for my DH.
Sorry it is a bit long but I don't want to drip feed. MIL and I have always had a strained relationship, could be a cultural thing and also because I find her narcissistic and completely self centred. She was an alcoholic while my DH was growing up, never around, he was ashamed of bringing friends around but won't have a word said against her. In recent years she has been supportive of my DH and extremely helpful financially while I've been on mat leave.
She's the sort of person who is really thoughtless and is always putting her foot in her mouth. I've tried to understand its just her personality and not malicious but there are only so many excuses one can make.
A few weeks ago she was visiting and had been to the hospital for some tests( she is recovering from cancer) my DH was still at work and so she came home and went up to sleep for the afternoon. She didn't come down to see the children for 5 hours and even when I came upstairs to bathe and put them to sleep she stayed in her room and didn't even come out to say goodnight. She admitted to me later that she was awake but was listening to radio 4. She's always been detached from my DD's and much closer to here daughters kids who she lives near to. The next day my DH went to a show at earls court as I had bought him tix for his birthday. She spent the entire day up in her room and don't come out to play with me and the kids all day. Only came out again when DH came home and kids were already in bed. Let me stress that she is recovering from lung surgery a year ago but is in robust health and a young grandma iykwim? I went up to check on her a few times gave her lunch etc and she admitted she wasn't sleeping just listening to the radio.
She has since apologised for her behaviour but claimed she couldn't handle the tension and noise of my DD's and me. My oldest is three and is a typical challenging 3 year old but nothing out of the ordinary. She claimed she found the discipline and tantrums too much to bear. I got incredibly hurt and told her if she found our house too stressful then maybe she shouldn't come to visit until the children were older. She has shouted at my DD before without realising I was nearby and when I asked her about it she denied she had done anything and that DD was overreacting.
It is her DGD's birthday next weekend and she has asked if we are coming to visit. I really don't want to. She never has any food in the house and I come from a culture where you always feed your guests and really spoil them. I can't handle the six hour round trip only to have to deal with two tired hungry children when I'm there while she pays little or no attention to them.
DH wants to go and I have told him he can go alone. He wants to take the children but I have told him I am not comfortable with them being around her on their own. A part of me feels guilty to deny my kids their grandma but I cannot allow her to carry on being such a bitch to them while she is adoring and attentive to her other GD's. so am I being unreasonable of should I put a stop to this now the only way I know how?

borisjohnsonshair Sat 10-Nov-12 21:54:08

I think you're right; your husband should go alone. If she asks why, then he can say that he didn't bring the children because she finds them so tiring, and obviously you have to stay at home with them. If he feels uncomfortable saying that, then you could phone her beforehand just to let her know. You could say you wanted to tell her who was coming so she didn't get too much food in or anything grin.

Doneinagain Sat 10-Nov-12 21:56:42

grinboris! Thanks for reading that mammoth post. I've just had enough of her passive aggressive behaviour and feel I need to put my foot down. Was going to just say I had a bad cold so as not to stir the hornets nest and give them something else to bitch about but maybe I should just be honest.
I could really do without the drama tbh.

ArtexMonkey Sat 10-Nov-12 22:01:02

Is it really so bad that she stayed in her room listening to the radio while recovering from cancer treatment? Really?

That said, a six hour round trip to go and be stressed and know your dc will be making her stressed sounds shit as well, so send your dh on his own, but ease off on the talk of "putting a stop" to this that and the other, because it honestly doesn't sound all that bad.

Doneinagain Sat 10-Nov-12 22:08:29

Artex it wasn't treatment it was a routine test a year after her treatment.
The list of vile actions is so very long but as a taster she accidentally sent me an email she had written to her daughter bitching about my taste in clothes and wasting money because I had bought my DD a dress for her first birthday.
She is constantly sniping about how much food I make when we sit down to eat and then proceeds to eat like a horse. I could forgive all that under the 'she's just old' category of life but when she attacks the kids it's v upsetting.
She implies my 3Yr old should really learn to play by herself and doesn't understand why she needs any attention when she is around. She denies her other grand kids were like this at this age even tho she wasn't around when they wee 3 as she lived in the states back then. It is the constant passive aggressive back stabbing I am having trouble with.

MaMattoo Sat 10-Nov-12 22:14:32

I would say don't go, but don't lie either. You are not meant to get along with each human! However in asking you DP to go you are being fair.
She sounds annoying and I can see my yen back come up if someone comments on my child. ESp some one from whom I expect unconditional love.

Doneinagain Sat 10-Nov-12 22:18:49

That's it Mamatoo I don't expect everyone to love my DD's as I do and I really don't have rose tinted spectacles on but I also don't expect a grandma to bitch about her 3 yr old grandchild.

ArtexMonkey Sat 10-Nov-12 22:19:57

Well that sounds like a nightmare tbh, much much worse than staying n her room listening to the radio.

ArtexMonkey Sat 10-Nov-12 22:22:09

Are you sure this is all coming from her though? Older people have funny ideas about very little children 'being independent' and so forth, this doesn't necessarily means she's 'bitching' about your dd when she expresses them.

Doneinagain Sat 10-Nov-12 22:23:19

Thanks Artex. I guess I just wish she treated my DD's better because I would love for them to have a good relationship with her. So I feel guilty that she is not a nicer woman

Doneinagain Sat 10-Nov-12 22:29:35

Hmm I'd like to think so I would love to give her the benefit of the doubt but she then goes on to compare my DD's with her give her old GD and I kid you not virtually says why can't DoneIn's DD be more like that angry

Doneinagain Sat 10-Nov-12 22:30:08

Five year old GD not give - stupid iPad

Viviennemary Sat 10-Nov-12 22:34:28

I think if she is recovering from cancer you shouldn't be too hard on her. It wasn't very tactful of her to say she found your DC's noise challenging even if she did. I wouldn't blame you at all if you decide not to go to visit given the long journey. But don't make a big thing of why you're not going. Just make an excuse. That's what I'd do.

Doneinagain Sat 10-Nov-12 22:37:16

Thanks Vivienne. I agree and am happy to make allowances for the fact she is old and getting better....really just want to be left alone with my DD's and DH but feels like a case of damned if I do damned if I don't

Gumby Sat 10-Nov-12 22:44:14

I have told him I am not comfortable with them being around her on their own

They'd be with dh too though. Or don't yOu trust him either?

JuliaFlyte Sat 10-Nov-12 22:51:50

My MIL is not a nice woman - she doeasn't like me and she is not remotely interested in my DC. I spent years trying to to work out why and bending over backwards to be nice and helpful. It was only when she went too far that I was able to see that I was fighting a loosing battle and to stop. I feel so much better now that I have taken control of the situation. I don't care what she says/does/thinks now, she is a sad, dysfunctional woman whose opinion means nothing to me. It has been incredibly liberating for me having spent so long being really, really upset by her attitude to me and my lovely children.

Let your dh go, you have better things to do with your time than spend it with your MIL.

Doneinagain Sat 10-Nov-12 22:52:11

I do trust him Gumby but I'm worried she's going to make some remark or overtly favour her other GD's like she has in the past and DH just won't say anything.
One time she was staying with us and took her other GD to the natural history museum. She bought her GD a toy dinosaur and came home with nothing for dd but proceeded to show my DD the lovely toy she had bought her cousin. What can you say to that without sounding like an overprotective tiger mother?

Doneinagain Sat 10-Nov-12 22:55:52

Julia thanks for that...it's crazy but it's like I need permission to move away from her. My upbringing has always taught me to respect our elders and family which is why it's been soo hard to allow myself to move away from her and I feel bad for my DH....urge why do I feel guilty?

JuliaFlyte Sat 10-Nov-12 22:58:13

OP, I wouldn't allow my dc to go to MILs without me when they were little for fear that she would make some nasty remark to them. I always went with them to 'protect' them from her. Now that they are older they don't want to visit her because they see her for what she is.

JuliaFlyte Sat 10-Nov-12 23:02:47

I understand, donein it took me years, at least 15 I'd say, to get to this point grin

What does your dh think? Mine never stood up for me or the dc when she was being horrible about us, it caused a lot of problems for us. Eventually I reaslised that he was so emotionally damaged by having a mother like tgat that he just couldn't stand up to her.

Doneinagain Sat 10-Nov-12 23:13:31

Well it causes a lot of problems between us. He says he hates having to defend her and its only now that she has turned her bitchiness towards his kids that he concedes at all that she is poison. But he still wanted me to go up with him and the kids and got upset when I told him I wouldn't.
I explained that I had done nothing wrong and it was HER behaviour causing a rift and he was allowing her to.
I also told him I was soo tired of being made to feel like the bitch having to lay down the law about protecting the dc's and that maybe he should just stand up for us instead. For once he seemed to get it and backed off immediately. In the past we've usually had a stalemate and days of awkwardness.

Doneinagain Sat 10-Nov-12 23:14:41

Julia how did it affect your relationship with your DH? Has it ben easier for you to stay away from your mil?

JuliaFlyte Sat 10-Nov-12 23:41:44

I think you were absolutely right in what you said to your DH.

It caused a lot of problems for us, I was very resentful that he didn't stand up for us. It really hurt. I got over it though. I said ' I'm a nice person, I'm a good wife and a good mother. I'm fed up letting your mother walk all over me and not standing up for myself because it will cause you problems. Enough, I'm not doing it any more' he basically said 'Oh, OK' hmm

This was after last Christmas when we went down to stay and the family exchanged gifts and I was the only one not to get one. MIL organises a Kris kindle, usually it's just among her children but last year she included their spouses. Except me. After having a good cry about it I decided to disengage. It really was the last straw. I haven't looked back, every time I see her (which is not very often I'm happy to say, I mentally give her the finger!)

Good on you for standing up for yourself and your dds. Keep on doing that. You have done nothing wrong. Your dh knows that even though he might have a hard time admitting it.

Doneinagain Sat 10-Nov-12 23:58:18

Oh Julia I'm soo sorry, what a pathetic and childish way for her to behave. Well done for protecting yourself and remember she is losing out not having you in her life.
It's soo easy to resent our darling husbands but then if dawned on me....he loves his mum plain and simple and actually his compassion is one of the reasons why I love him. So in a way I don't want him to stoop to her level. I just wished he made if easier for us to disengage.
I hope you are happier and take great pride and enjoyment from your dc's.smile

djelibeybi Sun 11-Nov-12 00:06:46

If she is not willing to fulfill the responsibilities of a grandmother, she cannot expect to receive the benefits of being a grandmother.

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