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God I'm stupid-just woken up to how manipulative my MIL is??

(81 Posts)
whatsitabout Tue 19-Aug-14 11:12:45

I have name changed to protect the innocent.

Last month MIL came to stay. Always a situation to be "managed". As we live abroad and she feels unable to fly, we arrange to see her whilst we stay at our UK house (normally it's rented out as a holiday let).

She's always been a bit tricky-bitchy personal remarks couched in concern, high expectations/demands (food 2 courses at least,napkins for every meal, cake with tea, breakfast table set etc..).

But she did something (I think) really manipulative or I am going mad-what do you think?

We'd planned a small dinner and invited local friends. One of the friends popped round the day before and mentioned they had frozen plums from our trees from last year and would MIL and us like any? MIL said it would be really nice to make pavlova with them for the dinner. OK I said, so far so good but I'd never made this before but ok maybe she can help? I had planned to make something else as I had no cookery books with me etc..

Took her out the next day on a treat for her that she had really looked forward to. Back home I started trying to make the pavlova. I asked for her help and she said " 2oz of sugar to every egg white-you've made lemon meringue pie before it's the same". OK but what oven temperature etc? "oh 150" She then went out to read in the garden.

I hunted around for the electric whisk to whisk the egg whites-found it but searched all through the kitchen and couldn't find the whisk blades. Time was getting short so I phoned up the local friend (who was coming to the dinner). She brought round her whisk and with her help I managed to make it and bung in the oven.

Dinner party went well. MIL loved the attention.

It was the next day that shocked me. She got up early (as usual) and went down to the kitchen. After half an hour or so I went down and got some breakfast things out. Opened the cutlery drawer, where I'd searched the day before (amongst many places) and there were the pair of blades for my whisk in the drawer, you couldn't miss them....I really did look there the day before and they definitely weren't there.... shock

Hissy Tue 19-Aug-14 11:17:26

Hmm... she sabotaged you then,. didn't she?

I'd put off any more invites in future then. She wants passive agressive, then she can have passive aggressive.

Finola1step Tue 19-Aug-14 11:22:23


So she was hoping that your dinner with friends would fall flat due to the lack of pavlova. Or did she enjoy sitting back and watching you flap?

MommyBird Tue 19-Aug-14 11:27:11


Shes done it to make you look loony!
'DH your mother has moved the whisks blades so i couldn't find them"
"HAHAHAHA Dont be silly. Why would she do that!?"

Keep an eye on her OP and look back at previous vists.

GrapefruitILoveIt Tue 19-Aug-14 11:29:56

a gas lighter!

start moving her handbag around the room. Cut the string on her glasses.

GrapefruitILoveIt Tue 19-Aug-14 11:30:08

Throw her half read book in the recycling.

Hissy Tue 19-Aug-14 11:33:42

LOVING Grapefruit's work there! smile

whatsitabout Tue 19-Aug-14 11:45:42

Mommybird I know what your saying, it just seems so far fetched that I haven't told the tale in RL because it seems as if I am the bitch/mad-she expertly picked her moment. Hissy, yes she did didn't she, try to sabotage me or hoping I'd flap as you say Fin? I think that's why she positioned herself outside-almost to be as far away as possible from what she'd done??

Who knows why and who cares-it was a wake up call. I've never shared tricky personal info about me just because it gets spread-I base that on what she tells me about other family members. Silly old woman. Thank god we live in another country.

Some great ideas for dealing with her-the book etc..keep them coming!

bloodyteenagers Tue 19-Aug-14 11:46:59

Misses the point completely..
But you don't need cookbooks. You have the net.

Hissy Tue 19-Aug-14 11:53:38

She must have been LIVID when your friend saved the day!

Hope the pavlova ffing choked her!

Good for you for not allowing her to screw up your dinner.

No more invites to her, eh?

moggiek Tue 19-Aug-14 12:00:32

Your friend couldn't have left her blades as a gift, as yours were lost?

Quangle Tue 19-Aug-14 12:11:50

Unless you think she is actually mentally ill, you probably just couldn't find them/someone else moved them/couldn't see for looking/they were in the dishwasher and DP put them away when cleaning up after dinner.

I don't see anything in your post to suggest she would have done this which really would be an extraordinary thing to do. She sounds hard work rather than insane and if I'm honest, your assumption on the basis of no evidence is a bit OTT. IMVHO of course.

abigamarone Tue 19-Aug-14 12:16:39

I'm always finding things I'd have sworn weren't there when I'd last looked. 90% of the time there is no way on this earth someone could have moved them. I put it sown to my own absent-mindedness.

Are you sure your resentment of your m-i-l isn't clouding your judgement?

abigamarone Tue 19-Aug-14 12:17:33

Sown = down obviously

May09Bump Tue 19-Aug-14 12:28:43

yep - you definitely need to wake up. I use to bend over backwards with family guests - yet got nothing like it in return. I had my little boy and didn't get any visits or flowers etc (it is a big family and the norm to do this), so without being bitter I just thought if they are guests in my house they have to follow my rules. Ok I get in extra cake etc, but they have to fit in with us - I have finished running round after people.

hamptoncourt Tue 19-Aug-14 12:32:58

Oh this is exactly the sort of stunt my own DM would pull OP so please do not doubt yourself.

Such evil exists!!

Deffo start hiding her stuff. Also, so long as nobody has witnessed it, start gaslighting her by insisting she hasn't told you something that she has told you.

I wouldn't bother discussing it with DH though. He probably just will not want to know -- and will spoil your fun--

hamptoncourt Tue 19-Aug-14 12:35:53

Actually now I think about it I recall that when DB moved a girlfriend in, DM used to hide her underwear. She would take it when it was drying on the line or whatever.

She also put a huge dose of salt in a chilli the GF was cooking once because she was so miffed that it wasn't her that was cooking for her darling DS.

When the GF complained to DB she obviously looked like crazy.

SurelyYoureJokingMrFeynman Tue 19-Aug-14 12:41:43

Jury's out on this one till you've asked your friend and DH whether they kindly found and filed the blades.

If they deny all knowledge, move on and thank MIL for finding them.

Fairyfellowsmasterstroke Tue 19-Aug-14 12:43:50

TBH I could see how she was before I got to the end of the thread.

She wanted the pudding to fail to make you look inept. Why else would she give such minimal instructions before wandering off without any practical offer of help?

To my mind if she wanted to help you she'd have stayed in the kitchen and overseen your attempts to make, what was for you, a new dessert.

The best way to deal with this is to wait until you're all sat round the table together and start along the lines of:-

""A funny thing happened yesterday. Can anyone shed any light on the mysterious disappearing whisk blades?????" and then look quizically at MIL.

BravePotato Tue 19-Aug-14 12:45:26


SurelyYoureJokingMrFeynman Tue 19-Aug-14 12:46:55

Sorry, I meant thank MIL for finding the blades as a way of asking her if she did, and seeing her reaction.

PlantsAndFlowers Tue 19-Aug-14 12:56:34

I think it's a massive leap to assume she hid them, often I look for things and can't see them when they are there in front of me.

Nomama Tue 19-Aug-14 13:25:21

Oh I don't think it is a leap. MIL was never quite so strange but SIL was, for years.

We rescued Sunday lunch, MILS illness had sent her to bed, we all pulled together to get lunch on the table.

As I was at the cooker SIL turned the gas up to high under all the veg, so it would be overcooked. Other SILs OH saw her do it and was 'shushed' to secrecy. When she got over her shock she pointed it out and we turned it all back down again. But SIL has done silly things like that a lot to me over the years. So I wouldn't be surprised at all!

Before I cut all contact I just used to laugh and make a daft comment, "Oh look, the oven has switched itself off again". Her friends believed her, I am a nutcase. Others remained neutral. DH desperately tried to think it was all a misunderstanding, but stopped when he realised that the best case scenario meant I was in urgent need of medical intervention.

You just need to be open about it with DH and let it pass by everyone else. Maybe have a giggle with the friend who came to your rescue.

daisychain01 Tue 19-Aug-14 13:29:13

The thing that troubles me about this ( which, believe me is with the benefit of hindsight about situations I could have handled better but thats a whole 'nother thread smile ) is that you havent asked her directly about the situation and the fact you are assuming the worst, not only that she hid the blades but that her motives were negative. Would she really want you to fail? Is it that bad... sad or was there a different motive. Until you talk it will just be a mystery.

I'd be thinking ... When did MIL have the chance to hide the blades? Where did she put them? When did she put them back? Etc.

I feel like it would have needed to involve quite a bit of planning on her part, and some slight of hand, more akin to Paul Daniels, to have done all that without you noticing, in your own home

Would it open a huge can of worms to find a moment when the two of you are together and say "MIL, there's something thats really bothering me. You know my blender blades werent in the drawer, and they suddenly reappeared today.. Do you know what may have happened? <innocent straight face benign look>

If its >> bluster bluster << you may have your answer, or if she decides to be open and admit, maybe it will just be a lesson to her to not treat you like an idiot?

whatsitabout Tue 19-Aug-14 13:30:46

Thanks all. Abi/all I know where you are coming from to ask is my judgement being clouded/did I just make a mistake. I truly don't think I did.

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