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Relentless exhausting MIL

(15 Posts)
happyhats Tue 04-Nov-14 06:45:20

Advice appreciated please? backstory is that widowed MIL has always been very controlling and manipulative. Lots of emotional blackmail and sulking if she's challenged on her behaviour. We actually live in the same house currently although this will be changing in next year or two!
Now we have come a very long way in terms of boundaries! In the bad old days she was constantly taking it in turns to slag off one of her kids to the others, she got my dd hair cut without asking, booked her birthday party venue without consulting me etc and was just very controlling and entitled. When you said anything to her she would say "my husbands dead" like it meant we had to accept whatever she threw our way! She also told me she didn't think about her husbands death affecting her children because "he was mine first and I had him longest". FIL was lovely man and her behaviour has got much worse since his death. We let things go on for ages because we assumed she was grieving and angry.
Anyway dh had an argument with her a while back and told her she was impossible to be around and her behaviour was not ok. He said that we couldn't make her happy that was down to her. She went to Bil to complain and he actually sided with us (usually they all turn on each other). Since then things have been reasonably ok but I've noticed things creeping back in again and feel uncomfortable on how to handle it. For example when I was talking about my husband she said"I stick up for myself now" and implied that he bullied her. Dh has agonised over his mothers happiness so it made me cross that she would talk about him like that. She also said that bil was wrong for not arranging his baby's bday for her convenience and that it's no way to treat your mother, I've got rights etc.
The past 6 years have been exhausting and nearly cost me my marriage. I really thought we were getting somewhere but she's constantly pushing boundaries!
Sorry this is so long but do I confront her and nip it in the bud? Or feel happy I know she's full of it and that I can see through her. I just think she sees herself as the comets victim and it enrages me!!
But I know I need to be calm and sensible.

Sunna Tue 04-Nov-14 06:52:57

If it's her home you are living in I think you have to put up with it to a certain extent. Leave the room when she's annoying you. A row would cause a horrible atmosphere for you and your DCs.

Move out now if you really can't put up with her.

DeckSwabber Tue 04-Nov-14 06:55:02

Focus on your move.

If you are living in 'her' house it will always be difficult, even in families which get on really well.

happyhats Tue 04-Nov-14 07:16:17

It's a 50/50 ownership. She seemed so vulnerable after FIL death and said she was going to kill herself if she was alone. We thought it would be great. Benefits for her-family around, split bills and benefits for us-bigger house etc etc. we have our own bits of the house so it's not like we are all sat in same room every night! I know we've made our bed but just wondered if I should keep quiet or let her know that things are creeping back in? Thanks

happyhats Tue 04-Nov-14 07:17:04

But you are both right. Think I need to keep the peace. It's not forever.

davejudgement Tue 04-Nov-14 07:29:04

Does she know you are all moving?

happyhats Tue 04-Nov-14 07:33:23

She does and has agreed before but then moves the goalposts. smileWe have set 18 month deadline to get all cash etc in order. No excuses. House going on market then ready or not.

Puzzledandpissedoff Tue 04-Nov-14 12:25:43

Sorry to mention this, but I think you need to prepare yourselves for very major problems when it comes to actually selling the house rather than just discussing it. Since she owns 50% what fallback plan do you have for if she refuses to sell?

You've not said much about your OH - how does he feel about all of this, and how is he likely to react if and when she really ramps it up later?

happyhats Tue 04-Nov-14 17:32:20

All opinions wanted puzzled. I'm happy to hear stuff I probably don't want to but actually need to! I like to think this won't be an issue but given the history I am probably burying my head in the sand. Dh cares less than I do about moving but mil has also mentioned she would like her own little place which I'm clinging onto. If she won't sell I don't know what I'll do! Bed and breakfast perhaps sad

Matildathecat Tue 04-Nov-14 17:54:31

God she sounds exhausting. Just keep being totally firm about boundaries and as often as possible mention that DH and yourself agree that x will happen or not. She sounds a pain but also sad and lonely. Does she have outside friends and interests?

In terms of trying to manipulate dates etc I would just ignore since it is actually beyond her control.

Out of interest, do you like her at all? Under all this is there a nice side? If so, maybe try to spend a bit of quality time giving her the attention she clearly craves. Let her chose what and when.mif she's a total witch please ignore that and get the house on the market ASAP.grin

Meerka Tue 04-Nov-14 18:22:10

Plan. Plan. Plan.

Find out your legal situation. if you want to sell and she doesn't, what is the situation? Can you sell anyway?

Plan out what delaying tactics she might use. Plan how to counteract them.

You say she's regressing into being unpleasant. I think that you have to stand up for yourself, but to pick the battles. She sounds absolutely awful to have around but decide the things you can just about grit your teeth over and the things you really can't live with.

You're under huge stress living with someone who makes being around them so unpleasant. Don't underestimate it. Keep communicating well with your husband (it's amazing your marriage has survived this stress tbh) and take time for yourself for little things.

happyhats Tue 04-Nov-14 18:42:41

She is quite lonely and certainly very unhappy I think but I'm exhausted with trying to help her to feel happy. It's almost like she would rather be unhappy so she can tell us about how badly she is treated. She can be horrible about the other siblings particularly the girls (called sils daughter a filthy slag age 12, dn is a stupid brainless idiot he's 14), her children are selfish and ungrateful etc and historically used to play them all off against each other. Interestingly she has never said anything like this about my dc (to me!) Got used to apologising for a quiet life but the real change was when the siblings united and she had the big row with dh.
I do feel sorry for her and she does have her good points although I'm clear im not really painting a great picture!!! I try to invite her along to things and this does usually have a positive effect on our relationship. But it's so hard to do all that and then still hear how terrible her life is!!! the boundaries are better than they were but it's like we take a step forward and then two backwards!! i don't think she will change totally but she is better than she was. Perhaps that will have to do! Phew-sorry for the rambling shock

Puzzledandpissedoff Tue 04-Nov-14 18:48:06

Okay, so if your OH cares less than you do about moving do you feel he's likely to wholeheartedly support a move when it comes to it? Because if she's into control, sulking and threatening suicide she'll certainly seek her own way by dividing you if she can - and you've already said the years with her have nearly cost your marriage

I agree with Meerka that proper planning is essential, rather than just hoping all will all go smoothly ... and a united front could be even more important

Matildathecat Tue 04-Nov-14 19:22:51

Crikey, I'm surprised anyone is speaking to her at all after the filthy slag comment. That's bizarre and dreadful.

I would just say though that my FIL was really, really hard work after my mil moved into a nursing home. Kept telling everyone he met how lonely he was and how awful his life was. He was also quite nasty about various people. Eventually we managed to convince him he was depressed and after several false starts he took the sertraline and has been sooo much better since.

Thrholidaysarecoming Tue 04-Nov-14 19:39:17

Challenge her.

I've started challenging mil every time she says something snidey or unpleasant.

Everything she says I respond to.

Mil "Oh holidays, did you eat all that meal - wow!"
Me "yes mil it was lovely, mind you, you pride yourself with eating only a roast potato all day! You know that's not normal don't you?

Mil - I don't like to sit next to juile because she is butch as she looks like a lesbian and I don't want people thinking I'm her girlfriend ( yes she actually said this)

Me - mil! That's horrible, I thought you were friends , poor juile...

I told her to stop arguing in my house on Saturday - she stormed out.

It's liberating.

Don't feel sorry for her- she is a bully

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