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My MIL is snide and manipulating and I want to emigrate to get away ....(105 Posts)
I have made a big effort to 'get along' with her. I have put up with her racist, ignorant and snobbish remarks for six years.
I have smiled at her while she told me that her husband could never have owned a (specified) small business because he is an 'academic who needed to use his brain' while knowing my own father owned the same small business. I have listened to her while she recounted stories of throwing stones at neighbour's pets while their owners were out because she 'didn't like their owners'. There are a hundred other examples - the children's birthday parties must be held at her house, she knows best about every single thing in the whole fcuking world.
I have nodded and smiled until now as she is raising her game and is getting snide with my young children, 'advising' me that young children can be 'horrible and sneaky' and need to be 'taught to be obedient'. I have adorable girls but her view is that boys are better. I have bitten my tongue for the sake of my husband. I want to run away from her as far as possible but her son fails to see anything wrong in anything she says or does and I am at my wits end. I can cut down visiting but I cannot avoid it.
She will expect us to spend Christmas with her. I am already dreading it. We will be told to arrive on Christmas Day 'on time'. We will have to tell her a hundred times how good her dinner is, we will have to be profusely grateful for being somewhere we don't want to be. Her (single) daughters in their forties will be there. They are versions of her. They will ask me questions on her behalf and 'suggest' better ways I can do things with the children. When I say that I'm happy with how things are, they will smile and say yes yes but we are right. Her words, their mouths.
I don't have the energy for her or them anymore. I am tired. I am determined she will not have an undue influence over my kids!
OP with the best will in the world, and saying it as someone who has experienced similar, if you don't want to be a doormat get up off the floor. You have every birthday party at her house? Why??
"We have plans made this year MIL, thanks, we will call on X day after Christmas". Send your husband off his own if hes so fond of her. The first time you say NO is maybe a bit scary, but every NO gets much easier. Actually the get quite satisfying after a bit
Do not spend the next six years putting up with such rubbish from his mother, after all you would not have tolerated any of that from a friend and family are really and truly no different. Do not bite your tongue for the sake of your H, it has not worked.
Anyone too who treated animals cruelly when younger by throwing stones at these defenceless animals should in any event be avoided at all costs.
What does your DH think about his mother?. He is also part of the overall problem here and his role here is key. Or does he leave her all to you to deal with?. He may well be in complete FOG (fear, obligation, guilt) with regards to his mother.
You do not have to spend any time with difficult or obstructive relatives, there is no real obligation on your part to do so. It is far better for them not to see their paternal grandmother if she can treat both her son and you as his wife so appallingly. Your children in her eyes are fair game as well.
You as a family unit are under no obligation either to spend Christmas with her and her clone daughters either.
If you really do want her not to have any undue influence over your children you are going to have to completely sever all contact with her altogether. Such people like your MIL never apologise nor accept any responsibility for their actions.
Oh op I could have written most of your post. Thinking about Christmas at MIL this year is making me feel physically ill
What makes the whole thing unbearable is the fact that DP doesn't have my back so things will never improve.
How old are your children? How do you plan to stop MIL's influence? My dc1 is only 3 but it's already started.
I've never heard such nonsense. [shocked] Stand up for yourself and your girls.If DH doesn't like it then maybe he should bog off and live with his mum.
Tell her you will visit for tea on boxing day and let the DCs have Christmas Day in their own home. DH will just have to go on his own, if he must.
Agree with everyone here, OP. You have your own little family now - and christmas should be spent with your own family!
And if you don't need to emigrate to get away from her - go NC in the same way as if you are in Australia!. It is hard, it is scary, but the hard, scary bit does end, and after that it is peaceful (mostly).
Your DH does have to be on board with it tho.
You don't have a MIL problem you have a DH problem if he expects you to tolerate this racist nasty woman.
I would tell him I was going to minimise my contact and my DC contact with her and that I wouldn't be spending Christmas with her.
How will he react to that? I think that is your starting point in deciding where to go with this.
As a parent you should be protecting your DC from people like MIL, the fact she is related is irrelevant.
I'm sure DH could be converted to spending the day playing with lego on the floor. Christmas Dinner is overrated, especially when children are small
I could have written your post a few years ago OP - we live 20 minutes away from my toxic narcissistic MIL and enabling FIL - as PP have said if you don't want to be a doormat get off the bloody floor. And don't give her the satisfaction of rearranging our whole life and moving away from your friends and (I assume) family by emigrating. It is heartstoppingly scary the first time you stand up to her (no-one in her family do it I expect) she won't be used to it and she will throw a hissy fit - but you need to understand you either need to do that, or accept that you will be doing this until one of you dies.
By the way moving won't do anything. My BIL tried that and they would turn up unannounced (he is 11hr flight away) and would guilt trip no end about 'why did you leave me' etc etc. Also his kids don't get sent gifts/money etc 'because they are removed from our lives by you'
I could go on and on and on - I won't, but you do need to stop giving her all the power. Sorry but its the only way.
If your husband can't or won't be fully supportive you may need to consider if you can handle being with him. It is still something I struggle with my own DH, they have been trained to comply with her whims. It is very powerful and very hard for him to break the habit...
Agree that you have a bigger DH problem.
Sit him down and tell him as clearly as you can that he can continue ignoring it but you are not going to any longer and if he doesn't back you and his daughters then........ (however far you are willing to go)
Personally I couldn't be with someone who put his toxic Mother before his own family but that's me.
Start withdrawing asap - inform her that you'll be spending Christmas at home this year but you will visit her/she is invited to visit on X day...... Mean what you say and don't bow down to her. If you stand tough a few times she'll have no choice but to get it.
You have a serious DH problem and a serious MIL/children problem. She sounds poisonous and will be no good for your children in the long term.
Are you absolutely certain your husband won't back you up? because this is the core of the problem. It will be a longer and harder battle if you have to try to get him to cleave to you instead of to her before facing her :s
If your DH doesn't have your back, you're scunnered.
She can be as much of a bitch as she wants: she is what she is. But you decide, as a family, how much time you spend with her, how much of a role she has in your children's lives. And enforce it as a family. You and your DH therefore have to be on the same page for this. You can't be the doormat who tries to get up off the floor if your own DH is the one who helps put you back down there.
This is a matter you need to settle with your DH first, your MIL second.
My MIL is no where near as bad as yours
has her moments though but the year I told DH there was no way we were spending Christmas Day at hers and told him exactly why was the year I felt strong. I told him he could go if he wanted but we were staying at home so the DC's could play with their presents and lounge around all day.
He didn't go. We spent most of the day in our pj's and had the best Christmas Day ever!
Please just be straight and firm with him, then deal with her together if he will stand with you.
Agree with everyone else - it is your DH you have a problem with, why can't he stand up to his own mother?
I'm another with the 'been there, seen it, done it, got the tshirt'. Well - a wardrobe full of tshirts!
Seriously, if you don't want to live in this shadow for the rest of your life, then take all the advice going and start to navigate your way through it.
My DCs have turned out perfectly OK, despite me ignoring MIL and SIL's advice from day one, not understanding unwritten rules and basically not being the person they'd hoped to have as a DIL.
I agree that you need to manage this firstly by working with your DH so he understands the pressure you feel. Take it gently but he is the key.
In my case, the relationships never really recovered but we are civil and the DCs love their GPs. After a while, you don't really care and it is a blessing not to have that cloud hanging over you.
Best of luck.
No, no, no - you asked the kids and they want to spend Christmas at home.
And you want to too. Don't you?
Thanks everyone for your posts.
DH is not on side. He is the only boy (the treasured son) and thinks his mother 'doesn't mean anything' etc, doesn't understand that I need him to stand up to her as according to him there is nothing to stand up for.......even things such as 'we all thought you were having a boy, I bought boy clothes for her, here they are anyway' when I had my little girl - he just finds funny and blames her age (mid 70s).
I am expecting manipulating self pitying tears if I tell her we won't be spending Christmas with her. She will lament to anyone who listens that she only tries to do what is best and I will be the scapegoat who is refusing her full access to her only grandchildren. The clones will get involved and start telephoning DH exclaiming how much it would mean to her if we were there, how she cried in their arms about not having us there and how FIL looks forward so much to us being there and DH who is quite soft, will cajole and make me feel completely guilty over not going there. She will then 'keep food' for us or worse still bring it over herself.
At times I feel sorry for the daughters who have turned out so like her, but when they visit and speak only to those they deem worthy to speak to, my pity diminishes rapidly.
I also have a problem with them as they take my eldest child who is still very young out of the room when we visit and ask her questions and I'm sure plants seeds in her head about 'stayovers' etc. Gosh I sound paranoid but don't want to write how I know this as worried it might be identifiable. My daughter is still very young and will tell me these things afterwards. For now!
I think you have to choose the pain to a certain extent - there is no perfect choice. You can either stick with the situation as you described in your original post (when you are genuinely considering leaving the country in order to get away from her) or you can move to something like the situation you describe in your most recent post, when you have to make a decision to do something she doesn't like in order to have a family life you can bear. That means there will be some bad times as you describe BUT you will also have some of the things you want.
There isn't a choice where you do what you like to do and nobody objects and there are no consequences.
You need to practise saying, "No" and tell your DH he either believes you, and backs you or he can go home to Mummy. You have to - if not for yourself, for your children. You must.
She's had her children. Now it's your turn. You're having Christmas at home this year. You would like to start creating your own Christmas family memories with them and you will come round to visit on boxing day.
This is completely reasonable. If you gry phone calls telling you that MIL is crying etc etc just stand firm. Say that's silly, you will see them on boxing day and you are having a quiet family Christmas day this year.
Don't apologise. Don't give excuses (they will come up with an answer). Stand firm.
My own parents aren't around anymore. Otherwise of course I would visit them even alternative years.
looki - can I ask about your relationship with your DH. You say he is "quite soft" but it does seem like you are unable/unwilling to stand up to him in relation to his mother and are "second guessing" what will happen if you do change the Christmas arrangements. You seem to be talking yourself out of attempting any changes. Is your DH the dominant partner by any chance.
I find this business of the "spinster" daughters taking your child out of the room very weird - is sounds almost sinister.
I am a MIL and a mother and grandmother of course and I can't imagine any of my DILs putting up with a fraction of the stuff you describe and I'm sure my sons would not put up with it either.
I think you need to be honest with yourself as to whether you are actually going to be strong enough to make any changes. I agree with the other posters but there is a limit to how many times people can say the same things over and over. Do you know what's stopping you standing up to your DH on this one? When you know that, you might be nearer to sorting (or tolerating) your MIL's behaviour.
For some reason you want quiet life and don't want to stand up to them.
It will only get worst and you can only blame yourself.
Just say no - and that's it.
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