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Just realised that my lovely MIL is envious of me...

(55 Posts)
Salbertina Mon 27-May-13 09:04:50

Always generally got on well (unless visits longer than a few days when gets a bit much for both of us). I've turned to her recently, mainly due to issues with my own v cold and difficult dm and feeling rather depressed and isolated overseas.

I recently unexpectedly received a "pull yourself together" type letter which told me for a THIRD time how my friends must envy me (wtf?) and how "blissful" my life was and how lucky i am in having a good, ambitious provider in dh (unlike FIL).

So, where to go from here? I think i expected too much from her- projecting lovely mother vibes onto her, forgetting she's my MIL and has her own issues...probably not fair to have burdened her with mine. Problem is I've lost a lot of trust and she's due a long visit with us.

Any thoughts please? She is lovely, funny and kind most of the time and I'm very fond of her.

Mollydoggerson Tue 28-May-13 08:46:25

Springy I laughed out loud at the film watching experience, that is my mother to a tee. Just couldn't be bothered and also is completely blind to how her disinterest is percieved by the other party. But as you say (in fairness to the older generation), they are not a therapised generation, their brain patterns do not flip over how some of their more minor actions will be percieved by others.

Maybe we are just too soft, after all!

Salbertina Tue 28-May-13 08:40:56

Thanks for your insight and kindness, Springy. Sorry to hear your dm can be so hurtful hmm, how rude just to get up and leave!

I've kind of given up on the friendship front- not so long left where we are. Had invested too heavily in friendships when we first arrived and now.. Can't be arsed. Should make some effort as realise isolation doing me no favours. Little SN support here compared to UK so mainly get on with it and spend hours supporting dc through hmk each night, v frustrating process for us both!

springymater Tue 28-May-13 08:34:53

NB you could consider skype therapy if therapy isn't available where you are?

springymater Tue 28-May-13 08:31:04

When she comes to stay, hold your ground (emotionally, that is). You don't have to feel ashamed because she blocked your efforts for greater intimacy. My mum is the same - she's lovely, but maybe that generation doesn't get the emotional literacy we are used to and is very much part of our lives and culture. We are a therapised culture, after all; whereas theirs just wasn't.

I do relate to the need for closeness and intimacy with a mother-figure. My mother wasn't overtly abusive, but there is no way of getting close to her and never has been. I recently burst into tears because we had started to watch a film together and I was pinching myself, thinking 'I'm doing something with my mum!' and she suddenly got up and said very bluntly that she wasn't interested.

It's a blow to have your MIL block you like this, it must hurt a lot. Can you get therapy where you are? Are there ways to pump up the friendship quota? Are there support groups for eg SN kids? Maybe cast your net wider and see what comes up.

hugs to all of us with a mother dearth in our lives ((()))

Salbertina Tue 28-May-13 07:58:45

I think she thinks there was no other choice for her (coming from her generation) than FIL.

She is rather materialistic/ambitious, unlike him who was salt of the earth, live a humble/decent life kind of person.. So i realise she judges my/our "success" on dh's salary/our house rather than the fact that we'd separated a while ago, struggle with an SN dc, have lots of debt and no proper friends where we live, as well as tricky family on my side.

Salbertina Tue 28-May-13 07:52:08

Yes, you're right, she thinks dh is fantastic! And divided loyalties if I confide in her i now see even if nothing to do with dh.

Springdiva Mon 27-May-13 19:11:39

how "blissful" my life was and how lucky i am in having a good, ambitious provider in dh (unlike FIL)

Hmm, so FIL was a waste of space but perhaps, in her view, thanks to her wonderful mothering DH is nearly perfect!!

It sounds like she is putting her disappointments onto your scenario, which isn't fair. Why did she stay with useless FIL? She could have made different choices.

I would not hold grudges but perhaps not discuss your life with DMIL as it is too difficult due to loyalties etc

Salbertina Mon 27-May-13 18:52:09

Thanks so much, Springy- really feel you get me/it smile v validating! Yes, she's a different generation (1930s) though same nationality.

I just expected too much, we'd really been opening up in correspondence and then this. Feel rather a fool.

springymater Mon 27-May-13 18:28:09

btw I'm sorry your dm is crap. It sucks to have a crap dm and no wonder you're feeling down about it. It also looks like you've drawn a blank with your bid for a 'replacement' mother, which is painful <practises what preaches>

Just goes to show we're all human, even the best of them are human and have weaknesses.

re envy. Well, a slippery beast eh. vile to be on the end of. All to do with the envier - who can kick out very strongly (from nowhere!). They invariably get the wrong end of the stick, bigging up one aspect while ignoring another. If she is envious, you have to learn to keep your distance. Preferably a leg kick away iyswim.

springymater Mon 27-May-13 18:18:55

Well, you have to laugh re Would you rather that she told you that your life sucks and therefire your feeling depressed is to be expected?

erm, yes I would. If it's the truth! Not necessarily that my life sucks, but that particular aspect sucks, yes. and to feel depressed about it is natural. Validation, see. Doesn't mean I'll flop about feeling sorry for myself - on the contrary, if I have support that my distress is understandable in the circumstances, it galvanises me to pick myself up, brush myself off etc.

Talking of differences, I assume your MIL is from a different generation. This could be the reason for her no-nonsense approach - or, rather, her 'count your blessings' approach. If she is of, say, my mother's generation (b. 1920s), they lived through the aftermath of a terrible world war, and another world war. So their take on life is different to ours. We have so many luxuries and comforts now - but that doesn't mean it's all good: imo we have lost as much as we have gained in many ways.

She could also be a different nationality? That could mean a different take on things, too. She may also feel protective of her son, that he is working like a dog and you're still not 'happy'. Her stuff, if so.

I'm sure she means well. Perhaps look at the glass half full thing - it sounds like you have a good thing going with her, even if it's not perfect? xx

Salbertina Mon 27-May-13 12:39:43

Yes, can appreciate that.. Am British and overseas.

HabbaDabba Mon 27-May-13 12:36:42

My friend has just the one child . A few years ago, when her DC was a baby, she was would talk to me about how she couldn't cope with the sleepless nights, the colic, the diarrhoea etc etc.

Being a friend I said the right supportive things but in my head I was thinking "pulling yourself together woman". Both DP and I worked full time and we had two. She had one and she was a SAHM.

Her MIL had even less sympathy. She literally worked in the fields back in the 'old country' with the DH strapped to her back and two older DCs at home with her mother.

I am assuming that you are from overseas, living here in the UK as opposed to an expat living overseas. If that is the case then that can be why your MIL more of acount your blessings type then a head nodding hand holding type.

lougle Mon 27-May-13 11:28:48

She's not crap smile she's just a very hurt person. She can't cope with her own hurt so she can't see that anyone else is struggling.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Mon 27-May-13 11:27:28

I think sometimes people use the word 'envy' as some sort of compliment, ie. "I envy you that dress/bag/job/whatever" and they actually don't feel that emotion or anything like it, it's a way of telling somebody that whatever they have is nice.

From what you've posted, it just sounds as if she's getting a little bit fed up that you don't seem happy with your 'lot' and, if you're in the habit of complaining to her, perhaps she doesn't get to hear the 'nice bits', just the gripes?

I wonder if the 'pull yourself together' comment is really just a gentle exasperation. If you've been using your MIL as a sounding board for all of your moans, it can feel a bit stifling and, perhaps she's not the right person to reel your list of complaints too? She may also be of the generation where you just

Moan to your friends and keep your MIL relationship to what it needs to be. She's obviously uncomfortable in the role of your confidante so, don't put her in that role.

Salbertina Mon 27-May-13 11:25:00

Gosh, Lougle- sounds like you could do with her active support rather than her envy.. Sorry to hear that she's so crap, my dsis is not dissimilar.

moleavenger Mon 27-May-13 11:23:59

I've been there with the projecting lovely mother vibes at other people, then getting a cold, hard dose or reality. Due to dysfunctional relationship with mother, I have had many "mother surrogates" and when I disappoint them, or they disappoint me, the sky falls down for me. If I've learnt anything, it's that you need to really not read anything into it - take it at face value, and don't fall into game playing (not replying to the letter, withholding the emotional connection etc...)

lougle Mon 27-May-13 11:16:46

People can be envious in the wierdest contexts. A relative is envious of me, to the point that she can't 'forgive me' for having the life I have.

I have 3 children, one of whom has SN. The combination of their ages and her SN means that I can't safely take them out on my own. I have 3 different carers who come in during the week after school, and I have to be back for her bus on weekdays, so that means I can't hang around and be spontaneous after school. At all. I couldn't return to my profession. I had a course booked, but it became clear that I couldn't arrange childcare that would accommodate DD1's bus.

She has 2 children, both healthy. She has her own business and she has family childcare for her appointments. She recently went away for a few days for work. DH and I haven't had a night away since DD1 was born, 7½ years ago.

But, I am married, and that is all she desperately wants, so she conveniently ignores everything else about my life and there is no argument which will convince her that my life can be anything other than perfect, because if you are married, it must be.

Envy. A funny thing.

Shitsinger Mon 27-May-13 10:50:58

I think she is trying to "Fix" the situation,when you wanted someone to listen.
My DM does this "look at how lucky you are" instead of just listening.

Mollydoggerson Mon 27-May-13 10:47:59

Just on the envy thing. I have an aunt who is repeatedly rude to me, dismissive, nasty, contemptous, all for no reason as far as I can see. I suspect it arises from percieved slights and also it dawned on me that she might be a little envious. My Dad (rip) was a bit of a joker and told her a lie about a lump sum I was expecting to recieve! When the penny dropped with me, that her weirdness might be down to some ill founded envy, it made it alot easier for me to shrug it off.

You can't waste your life worrying/responding to other's people's negativity.

AcrylicPlexiglass Mon 27-May-13 10:45:57

she thinks her son is the bees knees and that you therefore as his partner are the luckiest person in the universe. You are undermining her beliefs by talking out your difficulties with her. Even though she knows life is not perfect she will not want to be constantly faced with the fact that her son's life is far from perfect either. I think you need to find someone else to talk intensely with and try and cultivate a lighter, more positive relationship with her.

Salbertina Mon 27-May-13 10:38:13

Imperial grin Though also hmm

ImperialBlether Mon 27-May-13 10:36:38

Well, I think I would reply saying, "Of course my friends are envious of me because I'm married to your son, but they are hardly envious of the fact I have a cold hearted mother and feel depressed and isolated thousands of miles from home."

Salbertina Mon 27-May-13 10:36:19

Habba- fair enough, thats your view. As i said, more background I'm not going to into as too identifying. Interesting to canvass range of views, am not suddenly going to see her as "evil" just because of what others say. But envious at times, yes. A lot of it is generational too- she's had far fewer opportunities than me until her retirement. I recognise that.

Mollydoggerson Mon 27-May-13 10:35:03

I think her comment about friends being envious is her way of gently telling you to count your blessings.

Who knows? Some people are naturally more envious than others and see envy as more standard.

I can honestly say I am very rarely envious of people and I find it weird when people expect others to be envious.

maybe just accept that you both think differently on this particular subject.

Don't judge, just try to support each other.

HabbaDabba Mon 27-May-13 10:35:00 comment about my kids appearance was in response to your envy comment. My point being that eople will complement you or your kids in order to be nice or supportive

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