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Mil nightmare or am I overreacting? Dh says I am "ill"

(128 Posts)
Marmaladetoast Sun 15-Sep-13 15:43:08

I have posted before about dh, but he has been a bit better, but now this happened.

We have a house abroad that we have decided to let for holidays - we are just starting to rent out. Its not in the UK, its near dh family. We redecorated it this summer, cleaned it, bought new linen and curtains then flew home.

Dh was sent some pics today of the interior and all the curtains have been changed, all the bed linen has been changed. Mil apparently spent 9 hours redoing the curtains and bed linen in all the bedrooms, letting herself into the cellar and going through all the carefully packed away linen and curtains to re do it.

I was beyond furious. Dh was too, until he spoke to mil and she was very upset we are upset and want it put back how it was when ut took her 9 hours to take down curtains and linen in 3 rooms, deconstruct the beds, go through all our stuff to find something else and put it all up again.

she says when she was hoovering the curtains fell down in the main bedroom, apparently the new curtain hooks ( hanging on the new rails ) put up by professional builders couldn't cope with her hoovering. Instead of getting new hooks she changed the curtains in all the bedrooms and all the linen.

I am really angry about it- she didn't ask, I don't believe her story for a minute, and even so why change all the bedrooms round? And is now feeling very upset and angry I and dh are so ungrateful. She had a good old poke round all our stuff which was locked and bil has the key, so he must have given it to her.

Dh got off the phone, says I am wrong to be so upset and angry at her when she was helping. He says he prefers what she has done. He said I must be ill in the head to get so upset. He says I need mental help as I am upset just for curtains and bed clothes.

I am more angry she just did it, without asking, not caring what we wanted and expects praise for it. There was nothing wrong with any of it, just not to her taste.

Am I wrong here? Dh says I need to see a doctor and I am overreacting. He is making me doubt myself. I wouldn't change anyone's stuff without asking, especially if there was nothing wrong with it.

He isn't speaking to me and has stormed off to work, I am still shaking.

Inertia Tue 17-Sep-13 16:59:37

You're absolutely not mad.

But your husband sounds like a really nasty piece of work. He can't stand up to his mother's interfering ways, so he'd rather put the blame on you for standing up to such crazily unreasonable behaviour.

You do need a backup plan, with access to your own money. Sod heirlooms for the DC, they need a life without their mother being bullied.

How do you stand legally with moving the children back to the UK? If you have a UK house, can you just sell the ring and use the money to pay for flights and to get you up and running? How do you manage for money on a day to day basis?

Marmaladetoast Tue 17-Sep-13 17:12:28

We don't have a house in the UK, we rented. I should never have come here. hindsight is a wonderful thingsad

Day to day I have a credit card linked to dh accounts, he gets a text everytime I spend!! I have a debit card to, but he gets a text as well when I use it. Its set up that way at the bank.

I'm going to have to talk to him over the weekend, as he is away now. He thinks now she is putting it all back ( and I bet she won't, interfering old witch) there's nothing to get upset about.

I feel he has spoken to someone else who says yes his dm has behaved badly, and he now feels guilty. That annoys me as why sense check with someone else? Its not normal! Though I suppose its normal to him, if she has been like this all his life.

Or he is lying when he says she is fixing it back at the week end.

edam Tue 17-Sep-13 17:21:48

Your dh sounds like a controlling bully (and the son of a bully). WTF is he getting a text every time you spend a penny from your bank account? Call the bank and get that stopped right away.

Inertia Tue 17-Sep-13 17:33:33

Sorry , I think I misunderstood- when you said your only asset was the joint house was that the holiday home that MIL has decided to play dolly houses with?

So do you have literally no access no cash or money of your own?

Your problem is bigger than curtains- this is a big trigger. Your problem is being in a foreign country with no money, possibly limited rights, and a bullying husband with a bullying family. Please don't feel you are over-reacting.

One thing occurs to me - could the Citizens' Advice Bureau put you in touch with someone who speaks your dh's language, who could help you sell the house? He thinks he has you over a barrel because you don't speak the language, but plenty of other people do, and you could get help.

I would also sell the ring - claim you lost it. You say it is an heirloom for the children, but which would they rather have - a happy, secure childhood or a stressed, anxious childhood, with a dad who is emotionally abusing their mum, and a ring when she's dead?

tribpot Tue 17-Sep-13 17:56:23

Its set up that way at the bank.

No, he set it up that way. Not the bank. Is the bank account a joint account? (The card presumably is his with you as a secondary card holder). I would insist on an account of your own so that you don't have to feel beholden to him for every penny.

And I agree about the ring. The house is for the children, the ring is for the children - well what about you in the here and now? I guarantee your children couldn't give a stuff about the house or the ring. Convenient how you can't liquidate any of these assets though, isn't it? Was the ring a gift from him?

Marmaladetoast Tue 17-Sep-13 18:27:42

It's not a joint account, its his and I have cards. I dont have access to change anything.

Yes the house mil is interfering with is our only asset. The thought of her rummaging through all my stuff makes me so angry everytime I think if it.

Yes he bought me the ring. I have stopped wearing it- in fact I have taken all my rings off as truthfully its so hot here my fingers are swollen.

And yes, flying out with dc will be a problem as you need a letter from your dh allowing it. I only found this out this today when a mum was talking about going home for Christmas and how annoying it was.

I can look on the Internet for sellers that are bi lingual, but as his bil has the keys plus we own it jointly he would find out and stop it anyway.

I would have to go back to the UK to file for divorce to force the sale, have no where to live in the meantime, and no money.

I've bought the whole lot on myself, I can see that, through not thinking things might go very wrong at the beginning. And leaving the UK.

Ill have to think a bit harder what to do. Never see mil again for a start, though impossible probably. I said I wanted an apology and dh just looked at me. How can she have such little thought to assume she has carte Blanche like that?

totallydone Tue 17-Sep-13 18:39:28

Well here is where you start to plan....

Next summer your DH will "allow" you to fly out of Middle East to your holiday home, then from there you take the DC's on a flight to the UK.
Start squirrling money away in any way you can--you have about 10 months to do this (if you can stick it out).
Use your ring to get you settled. Once back in the UK you can apply for benefits and housing until you can work/find a job.
Start planning-this will give you something to aim for.

tribpot Tue 17-Sep-13 19:04:39

So hang on, this ring isn't an 'heirloom' for your children, it's just a ring he bought you. So you can sell that without making a copy - what the hell is he doing to do about it? Sue you for the money back? It was a gift.

Why can't you insist on a separate account? Or just open one and then whack a bunch of cash in from the not-very-joint account?

Trying to sell the house yourself is pointless as you've said - you'd need his consent anyway so him saying "if you want to sell, it you sort it out" was an empty gesture.

And I agree with totallydone - do a bunk once you have permission to travel.

Marmaladetoast Tue 17-Sep-13 19:21:07

Thanks totally. You're right.

10 months is a long timesad

Sorry - I had forgotten that you had said you are not in the UK - so the advice to go to the CAB was bloddy useless. blush

I really hope you can get this sorted out - your 'd' is being abusive and a total cunt.

Orianne Tue 17-Sep-13 20:46:38

Where in the Middle East are you?

perfectstorm Wed 18-Sep-13 01:00:59

Are the children his?

perfectstorm Wed 18-Sep-13 01:03:54

I ask because you may need to box very clever indeed if you live in a country which would enable him to essentially take them from you permanently. Maybe pressing for Xmas in the UK as a family to life your spirits/get you some respite from the heat might be a good strategic target.

topicsactiveimon Wed 18-Sep-13 01:22:42

Are you worried that you need permission to get the DC out of the country you are in, or into the UK? Usually the 3rd country won't be that fussed if none of you are nationals. You MAY be questioned at Heathrow, but a return ticket to the country where you both reside and British passports + copies of birth certificates have always worked for me. Were the children born in the UK? Do they have UK passports?

Marmaladetoast Wed 18-Sep-13 03:57:29

A good sleep would be nice. Dh woke me up in the night- he'd had a night out and banged about so much I woke up.

We are in the UAE. The dc are his but both born in the UK. I have stuff on a boat somewhere making its way here as well.

Christmas would be nice, but we would have to stay in a hotel- there is no one to spend it with iyswim- and I doubt we would get anything sorted that time of year.

More thinking for me .

rootypig Wed 18-Sep-13 04:22:56

Marmalade that sounds so hard. MIL is being awful - she is not thinking of you or treating you as an adult who deserves respect as such, and that is so incredibly frustrating and enraging know the feeling

I agree with totallydone, good post. 10 months is a long time, yes, but will it feel bearable if every month you are making progress toward leaving? Is there any way you can squirrel some money away - any household expense you usually pay cash for and can cut out, iyswim? Think about what paid work you could do and take steps toward it. Contact an organisation who can advise of housing and benefits.

Re moving DC, be aware of the Hague convention on moving children internationally, this could cause you serious problems. Broadly speaking the courts will enforce DC's continued residence in their country of 'habitual residence' if parents disagree on where they should be. Not sure if UAE is signatory but UK is.... I would email a UK family solicitor with expertise in international law to find out where you stand asp.

JustBecauseICan Wed 18-Sep-13 05:56:24

I'm confused. Is he in the house with you now? Or away?

You must, as rooty says, be very wary of children/borders. Read up on it. He could accuse you of abduction and then you would lose custody. You are right about needing his permission to fly anywhere with them. I am rarely stopped and questioned leaving the UK but almost always stopped leaving our country of residence despite both dd and I travelling on UK passports. (I have also been stopped at the UK border while the permission letters are looked at) These checks are being rolled in Europe-wide and it will soon become the norm rather than "occasionally" to be checked.

You don't have to live like this, despite not knowing his language, not having anywhere else etc etc. There is always somewhere else and there is always someone else can help. Even cyber-people. There will be someone on MN who speaks his language for starters if it's European. For sure. Who can at least help you out with working stuff out about this house.

nobeer Wed 18-Sep-13 12:29:10

Hi OP. There are plenty of expats in UAE, (I have family living there) so I think you need to start setting up some support networks there. You might also find someone who speaks your H's native tongue and you could start taking some classes so you feel less in the dark when your inlaws are talking amongst themselves. I wish you lots of luck in what sounds like a very difficult situation

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 18-Sep-13 12:35:23

UAE is also not a signatory of the Hague Convention.

You certainly need proper legal support locally, there must be other expats who can help you here. Your situation is not hopeless and you can ultimately get away from both him and his own toxic family.

perfectstorm Wed 18-Sep-13 19:34:31

The good news is that if the UAE isn't a signatory and you can get them back to the UK, then he can't force you to return to it as their nation of customary residence. So it isn't all bad. But the bad news is if he were to throw you out tomorrow and deny you all contact with the kids, you'd be totally dependant on local law. English couldn't do a thing to help you. I don't know anything about UAE and parental rights on splitting, but if I were you I might investigate.

My point about Christmas isn't that you would actually have a holiday. It's that once you were there, you could refuse to return. If you can persuade your DH that you need a holiday somewhere cool, that you want to spend some time in your own country with the kids at such a nostalgic time of the year, etc etc then maybe he would agree, as you hate the heat and are so homesick. You can book a cottage or flat, no need for a hotel. There'll still be availability. And it's plausible enough, really, that you might want to if you're that bitterly homesick.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Thu 19-Sep-13 08:53:56

I think I would change tack. Say to H on reflection at her age your MIL probably needs little hobbies and distractions and it is quite harmless and best to humour her. Rather like a little girl playing with a doll's house only on a larger scale. Look amused and shrug it off. I don't think your H sounds like he gives a monkey's whether that episode upset you or not so why give him the satisfaction of thinking you are helpless about it.

If he is a bully who perpetually drags you down I agree, start planning an exit strategy. He may be already conducting an affair, working is sometimes a useful alibi for an OW. It sounds as though he already dismisses what you say, that blocking and deliberate disinterest often signals a determination not to engage any more. If he does check spending or spy on your correspondence that can be a guilty conscience speaking. A cheater suspects others to be as sneaky as they are. Delete your pc histoory if you are on MN won't you?

How old are your DCs? If he is too important to perform domestic or childcare tasks, raise the subject of paid help. Couch it as a status symbol befitting someone of his standing and compare with a senior boss or rival if that's the sort of ego trip that appeals to his vanity. Then you can look into working if that's what you want.

Finally do reach out to old friends, even out of touch ones would probably react favourably, keep it light to start with.

Labootin Thu 19-Sep-13 09:06:37

I have (former Dubai resident) flown solo (ie without dh) with my children many times over the past 3 years and never thought to have a letter of permission , we have had a return tickets though.. Not sure if that makes a difference.

Labootin Thu 19-Sep-13 09:09:18

Re the banking and text,that's not unusual it was a standard feature of dh's UAE HSBC bank account, it can on request be turned off (but would need the principal card holder to do that)

Loonytoonie Thu 19-Sep-13 19:58:40

How are you, OP?

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