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Tricky MIL Situation, any advice?

(52 Posts)
ACowKickedFred Tue 17-Sep-13 00:49:59

My MIL has always been absolutely stark raving bonkers slightly eccentric, but recently it appears to be getting worse. Either that or I've reached breaking point and my tolerance level has fallen to zero. She acts all nice and caring but simmering underneath is a real bitchiness which is kept carefully hidden most of the time. She's visiting for a few weeks at the moment and I'm getting stabby already and she's only been here 3 days.

I have a daughter from my first marriage. She's 20 but is autistic so emotionally is more like a 12/13 year old. My husband is the only dad she has ever known. MIL seems to swing from being doting thoughtful grandma to behaviour which I'm struggling to find words to describe other than bloody weird.

Yesterday she decided to go to the local bakery to buy everyone a nice cake for afternoon tea. When teatime came round she got them out and we got to share her entire thought process as to why she chose that one for DH and this one for me and that one for FIL etc. But she didn't get one for my daughter because she didn't see one which she thought she'd like (daughter is a dustbin and will eat anything). Why would anyone think that was ok?

Then today she decided that we'd all like pancakes for dinner, she'd clearly thought about it a lot before travelling as she'd packed her pancake frying pan confused. She called my daughter down as she was about to cook them. My daughter sat at the kitchen table waiting for hers. She cooked one for FIL, one for DH, one for me, then another for FIL and DH (they were in the other room so unaware of her shenanigans), then tried to get me to take the next one. I kept saying that DD hadn't had one yet and she kept trying to avoid cooking her one and was doing them for everyone else. In the end I gave DD the second one she cooked for me. She then cooked more for herself, FIL and DH. Basically, if I hadn't have given DD mine she would have gone hungry.

I noticed that last time she visited that DD only seemed to get a half portion of meals on her plate. MIL was cooking as I'd just had a baby. I just thought she was rubbish at plating up evenly, but now I suspect she resents DD, possibly only surfacing following the birth of DS, her first blood grandchild. I also suspect she is trying to pretend she doesn't because if FIL notices he'll be very angry as he thinks the world of DD.

What should I do?

ACowKickedFred Tue 17-Sep-13 22:11:40


I've just been reading about narcissistic parents. It's MIL through and through. My husband once told me how he was beaten up every single day through school and how his mum was furious about it. Not because her baby was being hurt but because it looked bad on her that he was involved in all this violence. Also without a shadow of doubt she has destroyed his sibling relationships by setting SIL up as the golden child who can do nothing wrong and demanding the others worship at her feet.

But the bit that really struck me on the website I read was this:

'Everything she does is deniable. There is always a facile excuse or an explanation. Cruelties are couched in loving terms. Aggressive and hostile acts are paraded as thoughtfulness. Selfish manipulations are presented as gifts. Criticism and slander is slyly disguised as concern. She only wants what is best for you. She only wants to help you.


It is impossible to confront someone over their tone of voice, their demeanor or they way they look at you, but once your narcissistic mother has you trained, she can promise terrible punishment without a word. As a result, you're always afraid, always in the wrong, and can never exactly put your finger on why.'

Which is pretty much what I was trying to say up thread.

knittedknickers Tue 17-Sep-13 22:50:56

I feel so annoyed on your behalf for your daughter. Narcissistic (i.e. with a condition) or not - she needs to know that you won't put up with her being a bitch to your daughter anymore! You've handled it very calmly - much more delicately than i would have been able. I think your husband's plan is good but still not confrontational enough. Rather than swapping his plate (or whatever depending on particular situation) I think he should point out to her that she's unfairly left your daughter out/not given her as much as everyone else. She sounds jealous of the attention your daugher is getting. What's good is that you and your husband are on the same 'side' about it.

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