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Help with a difficult MIL?

(26 Posts)
ToughSpuds Thu 13-Feb-14 20:41:47

Not long after me and my dh first got together (I've known him for years) I moved in with him and his mum (we were both young, I was arguing with my mum constantly after she remarried and my mil said it would be best If I moved in with her and her son). I was grateful for the escape and finished doing my a-levels and dh was finishing his college course. 3 months later I discovered I was pregnant (cilest failure) - mil found out before dh (as he was at college) and was exceedingly pleased chanting "I'm going to be a nanna" over and over again. Me and dh were happy but very very shocked. During my pregnancy things went down hill fast. Me and dh slept on two mattresses on a damp floor, the cat (which mil knew I was allergic to) was allowed to climb all over clean dishes and laundry etc. Mil started becoming weirdly possessive over dh. She told me I was not allowed to claim money for myself (and with no way to pay her I had to work for her, for free). She told me that dh wouldn't move out with me and that if I wanted to go I had to wait until her grandchild was born then I could leave without them both. All through my pregnancy I was sick - she would tell me off for making horrible sounds while puking and she refused to buy me painkillers for my migraines as she said it could be bad for baby. One day my dad had to come and collect me as she had cooked me something and I couldn't eat it due to being unwell which ended with her screaming in my face, me crying my eyes out and getting serious pains in my chest and tummy (dh was at college and returned just as I was leaving with my dad). I eventually went back but told dh I was moving out and asked if he wanted to come with me. He said yes. Mil denied being horrible to me and said I was a brat would just wanted attention.
Me and dh finally moved to our own place and she made it clear she had to visit EVERY week without fail. As soon as she found out I was in labor she waited outside in the waiting room (as she said it wasn't fair because my own mum was in the delivery room). A few months after the birth of my DD I found out I had PND. Mil kept coming over and taking over with my baby (dh said it was only a few days a week and to let her spend time with her gc) when I said it was getting too intense - he told me it was all in my head.

I eventually managed to pick myself up from the horrible low rut I had gotten myself into and grew up (as did dh - we attended parenting classes and cbt together). But my problem now is that Mil still comes every week (even when dh is at work), she still puts me down, she likes to control situations, treats people like crap (the general public and family) and she behaves like a child (which my 3yo DD loves!). Mil has to be the center of attention and always makes me tell her son bad news (like that his nanna was in hospital/that his granddad had died etc). The worst thing about it all is that my dh seems to be oblivious to it. Mil has been stealing money off my dh's relative (but he doesn't believe it is happening) and she keeps bring my DD prezzies EVERY TIME she comes - my DD is starting to expect it and she always works herself when she knows nanna is coming as she can get away with murder.

What should I do? I don't know how to deal with this. I'm worried about my dh thinking I'm making it up. Mil told me she would always be the number one woman in his life on my wedding day.
Any advice?

Logg1e Thu 13-Feb-14 20:48:47

I think that 99% of the Problem With The In-Law threads on here are actually Problem With My Partner. This is one of them.

What do you want things to be like, if you had your way?

ToughSpuds Thu 13-Feb-14 20:53:58

No presents for DD when she comes. Visits made every other week not every week. Mil taking a step back and saying sorry for the way she has treated me. Maybe not telling me I'm useless all of the time?

I don't actually know how to deal with her.

Logg1e Thu 13-Feb-14 20:55:49

I think it'd be reasonable to say a visit once a fortnight and if she is rude you ask her to leave. I think it'd be reasonable for your husband to take your daughter for visits between these times.

ToughSpuds Thu 13-Feb-14 21:02:06

My DD is at nursery and DH works FT. Mil lives 18 miles away and works PT - I don't know when DH would be able to take DD as he works weekends.

Logg1e Thu 13-Feb-14 21:04:19

That's not your problem.

Your concern is your child having a healthy relationship with her grandmother. Once a fortnight meets that obligation.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 13-Feb-14 21:08:53

What does your DH think of his mother?. What sort of relationship does he have with her; is he actually very much in what is known as FOG (fear, obligation, guilt) with regards to her?. My guess is that he is. That may well account for him being oblivious to the problems; he does not want to face up to the fact that his mother is infact disordered and emotionally unhealthy.

A good rule of thumb here is that if she is too difficult/toxic for you to deal with, she is certainly too toxic and difficult for your both vulnerable and defenceless child. If she cannot behave then she gets to see NONE of you.

I guess as well that she has never apologised or even accepted any responsibility for their actions. Such people never apologise nor ever change.

I would suggest you read "Toxic Inlaws" written by Susan Forward and post also on the "well we took you to stately homes" thread as you will also get support and advice there.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 13-Feb-14 21:13:35

"Your concern is your child having a healthy relationship with her grandmother"

Why?. Out of societal convention. Sod that, its not a good enough reason.

OP must keep her child away from such malign influences. Gifts too are never given by such emotionally unhealthy people without obligation or conditions attached

MIL is incapable of having any sort of decent and or healthy relationship with OP; she will not have any sort of healthy relationship with her grandchild. These people make for being deplorable grandparents. Said grandchild is already being unduly influenced by grandmother and her behaviour as a result has further deteriorated.

It has to stop now; if MIL cannot or will not behave then she gets to see none of you.

ToughSpuds Thu 13-Feb-14 21:15:32

Thanks for the replies. DH is slowly starting to realize what MIL is like. (She keeps changing the lies she is making up) He doesn't seem as affected as he is at work full time now. I think he does feel like it is his job to put up with his mum as his brothers/uncle/dad & step mum all live away and her partner lives down south with his wife
I'm going to download that book Attila

Logg1e Thu 13-Feb-14 21:16:15

I'll leave you to it OP, Attila has all of the answers, you just need to never see your mother-in-law again.

ToughSpuds Thu 13-Feb-14 21:17:40

Mil has started getting a bit weird with DD as she is getting more and more strong willed too (another thing my DH has picked up on)

ToughSpuds Thu 13-Feb-14 21:19:40

Attila I think MIL would do something crazy if we told her she is not allowed to see DD as she behaves perfectly normal in her mind

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 13-Feb-14 21:22:14

Your MIL may well be narcissistic in terms of personality; it is not beyond the realms of possibility here. Her constant need to be the centre of attention is a possible indicator. Whatever the root causes, you did not make her this way (her own family did that lot of damage) and it is NOT your fault she is this way.

Even your up till now oblivious DH has picked up on the fact that his mother is behaving more weird with regards to your DD. Also its hard for your DH being the last one left, MILs other family members all moved away for good reason.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 13-Feb-14 21:26:02

"Attila I think MIL would do something crazy if we told her she is not allowed to see DD as she behaves perfectly normal in her mind"

You know that she does not behave normally.

Your job as parents to your precious child trumps any craziness or stunt she may (or equally may not) pull.

What could MIL realistically do?. If she harassed you then I would involve the police, if she sent abusive text messages the same. Cutting contact is never a decision made at all lightly but you have to protect yourselves from abuse. You would not tolerate any of this from a friend, family are no different.

Grandparents have no automatic rights to see their grandchildren. You are doing DD a favour by protecting her from such a malign person; she cannot even behave with any decency to her parents after all.

ToughSpuds Thu 13-Feb-14 21:26:37

I honestly think there is something wrong mentally and she has been to the GP but won't take medication as she said it will make her feel worse before she feels better. The more I think about the way she behaves the more I think she isn't well (she does a lot for my nan in law who has just lost her husband (mil step dad))

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 13-Feb-14 21:32:21

Do you know for a fact she has been to the GP?.

As I wrote before, normally stable people do not act in the ways that she has done. Her behaviour towards you in particular has been abusive and remains so.

Your main priority here is protecting your own family unit from her malign influence. Do not as of now let this woman into your home under any circumstances.

ToughSpuds Thu 13-Feb-14 21:36:35

She practically waved her script off the doc in my face. I don't think DH would allow me to cut out his mother (even though he sees she is unstable - he doesn't see how bad she really is)

ohfourfoxache Thu 13-Feb-14 21:39:47

His mother, his responsibility - it isn't yours.

He should be the one facilitating visits.

ToughSpuds Thu 13-Feb-14 21:42:29

We are going to have a good talk about this when he comes home from work tonight. Something has to change. I'm also going to look into some kind of counseling as I'm anxious and doubting myself a lot sad

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 13-Feb-14 21:44:22

You do not need his "permission" to at the very least redefine your own relationship with his mother. You have a choice, you do not have to see her at all. Look too at the effect she is having on your child.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 13-Feb-14 21:47:13

Hopefully spuds, your concerns re his mother will be validated by him. He's only got to look at the effects she has had on his child, he is seemingly beginning to wake up to what she is really like. He can maintain a relationship with his mother if she wishes but you do not have to and nor does your child.

BACP are good re counselling and do not charge the earth. NHS is all very well and good but waiting lists for counselling can be a mile long and could perhaps only give you a small number of sessions.

You need to speak to a counsellor that has no bias in keeping families together despite the presence of mistreatment.

MommyBird Thu 13-Feb-14 21:50:38

I had counselling because of my anxity cause by my MIL. My self doubt was over whelming. I thought it was all in my head. I thought we was being akward.
The arguments me and DH used to have was horrible.

Things got alot worse.

We dont see her anymore.
You're in the right place for advice.

rainbowsmiles Thu 13-Feb-14 22:25:04


Your mil sounds deranged. The behaviour when you lived with her would be enough for me to end contact entirely. That is seriously wrong.

To put it in perspective my own mil was causing upset in my life by making things up and causing unnecessary grief. Nothing really compared to your awful woman. So, when I had decided I had exhausted all possibilities in maintaining an honest relationship which would not have a negative impact on me, my relationship with my dh and my children, I told my dh I would not be visiting or organising visits with mil and would prefer for visits to be arranged to our house when I was out.

I defined how she was allowed to interact with my children, ie no time on her own, no sleep overs.

My dh understood why and knew it was my decision and not one I would make without first having exhausted all other avenues.

My mil also changed when baby arrived but not even in the same ballpark as yours - your Mil is seriously out of the normal range. A v damaging woman.

It was actually an easy decision in the end. I had a palpation one day which sounds pathetic but I'm fit and healthy and hadn't ever experienced anything like it. It was due to the stress my mil was causing and I just said No, she is not having power over me anymore. I took the power back. It was easy. She isn't my mother. I owe her nothing. I owe my husband. He understood and that was enough.

All you have to do is decide. You have control over your behaviour. You don't control her and she can do what she likes but it won't be with you.

Funnily enough I think my taking a stand actually made her confront her behaviour. She sought counselling etc. Also, when I removed myself I couldn't then be the scapegoat. Also when i gave up organising visits my dh didn't pick up the slack so her involvement has petered out to almost nothing.

I lurked on mumsnet a lot then and read loads of mil threads and it really gave me the confidence to know it was the right decision.

It really is one of the best things I did. I also purposefully mentally detached from it all. She just doesn't enter my thoughts. All that drama just gone and just because I decided enough was enough.

Good luck

ToughSpuds Fri 14-Feb-14 11:45:44

Thanks for the replies. Me & DH had a good, honest talk last night and he said he will deal with all contact. This also means there is now terms and conditions applied when MIL visits as after reading this thread DH seems to understand more.

Thank you

MommyBird Fri 14-Feb-14 12:04:12

Fabulous news smile
Most people here have experience of Toxic people in their life. If you ever need to vent or ask any question, there will allways be someone here to offer advice.

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