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How to deal with MIL comments(28 Posts)
I've got some relatively minor MIL issues and just wondering if anyone has any suggestions how to deal with this sort of thing in a low key way - I'm not sure this merits a full on confrontation but I'd be interested in thoughts.
MIL (and FIL, but we don't interact so much) is fairly negative and I think a bit passive aggressive. She likes to make lighthearted put downs to, well basically everyone! It's not aimed at me, it's how the whole family interacts. DP (together 9 years, one DD, apologies if me calling them PIL annoys people since they aren't officially) used to be like this but I made it clear I wasn't keen and he's adjusted, though he slips back occasionally. It could be just their version of banter, but to my mind if it's not funny then it's not good enough for banter! Fine to make a funny joke, but a non-funny snide comment is just pointless. DP is the kindest, softest, loveliest man alive so the fact that he used to interact a bit like this just proves it's the whole family dynamic IMO. His brother and sister are like this too, but mostly in a witty was and can take as good as they give so that's fine.
Anyway examples of the sorts of comments:
I told MIL that we were going to start weaning DD when we visited them next weekend - I thought they'd appreciate being involved (watching). Her response - oh, do you finally think she's ready? (she's 5 months 2 weeks, 6 months by due date next saturday, and they were trying to get me to wean her at 3.5 months but I was very clear we were waiting till 6 months). I said 'yes, it's 6 months by due date so I'm happy to start, and she's been grabbing things off my plate and looking very hungry indeed'. MIL responded 'poor thing, you're not looking after her'. My reply 'given her weight I don't think anyone could accuse me of letting her go hungry!' MIL: 'oh, how big has she got now?' me: '22 1/2 lbs 10 days ago'.
This is typical - she makes a fairly small fry negative comment, I 'correct' her, and she comes back with more negative about my correction.
It sounds small when written down but I'm not used to it - my family are encouraging rto each other, so I'm wondering what the best way to handle it is. Or should I basically correct her when necessary and ignore it the rest of the time, which is what I currently do?
Usually with these kind of people I say 'sorry? I'm not with you' they usually hate being called out on it, and haven't expected you to want an explanation. I like to see rude people squirm.......
I have extended family members like this. I smile and nod. If seriously annoyed, I laugh and make a joke that takes their implications to the extreme: "Oh god, parenting is soooo hard, I can't even feed them right. Shall we all go out to McDonalds? I bet DD could eat a chip."
So what if your MIL thinks she is right and you are wrong? So what if she faintly disapproves? You don't have to convince her that you are right. Why should you justify yourself to her? She's not your boss.
Ask them what they recommend, or what did you do with your children, how was this done in your day, why do you think it is done differently now a days etc can get them talking about themselves and their own opinions (their favourite topic) instead of judging you. If you treat their spiel like listening to a mildly interesting radio 4 documentary about the olden days, not a tutorial, then you might find some useful nuggets and can just let it roll off you.
SharonCurley I got into researching MBTI personality types for a project, and I unexpectedly got really into it, as I'm fascinated by what drives different people.
This page gives descriptions of a few personality types under stress - ie at their worst. MBTI typology is no means set in stone, but there is a lot of food for thought in it, and it really helped me understand that some people are just the way they are and helped me not to take their behaviour personally. I've yet to read up fully on how much one's type is determined by nature or nurture.
Kiki I'm glad you have the sense of humour and the tough hide to not let your MIL get under your skin. I love 'what do you mean' and 'in what context', too.
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