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Another MIL one (long)(27 Posts)
Sorry but I need to get this off my chest as I have not slept properly the last few nights due to rage and stress. I have n/c for this as it might 'out' me in real life.
Right - so there is a long history of MIL ignoring my and DH's feelings and generally making us feel crap.She is very much adoring of DH's sister and sees DH as a disappointment (basically they have more money and go along with her schemes more than we do). She lives quite far away from us with her husband and it wasn't a massive problem before as we would only see her 2/3 times a year. She would only stay with DH's sister who lives close by and has nice guest facilities so it was a case of suck it up and wave goodbye.
The problems started when I had our first son. She started coming up 4 times a year and wants clearly to be a matriarch. She was inappropriate on many occasions including refusing to give me back my new baby even though he was crying and going on and on about things we chose to do which she didn't approve of. When my son was born she didn't take pics of me with him but loads of DH's sister with him. I realised that what MIL really wanted was his sister to have a child but she always maintained that she did not want children.
I went on to have a second DS but when I had him, DH's sister announced her own pregnancy. We were happy for her and her son is a nice child. Unfortunately, MIL has become obsessed with this child.
She now comes up every 6 weeks and it is all about her other grandchild. My children now only exist as a way of comparison to the golden child so that she can reassure herself of his superiority. My younger son is very advanced academically but it is dismissed as him being 10 months older. She doesn't know anything about him as she never makes the effort to even talk to him.All she wants to do is compare him to her favourite grandchild.
We had encouraged her to take out our eldest child for days out etc which he loved but as soon as our nephew was born, this all stopped. We are regularly told in front of the kids about her lovely times out with her 'golden grandchild' but ours are never invited anywhere. Our kids are Home edded but they are told how much GC loves school because he is a 'good boy' and so suits school. The fact that our DC are very academically advanced for their age and very loving and friendly is not mentioned.
Both my sons have had serious medical conditions ( DS2 has outgrown his but it was scary at the time) - she has never asked about him in any way. She has never had DS2 on her knee etc but tells about lovely cuddles etc with the GC (golden child) in front of our kids. She became obsessed with measuring my son, including his shoe size etc to show that his 10 months younger cousin is taller than him (she is delighted). In the end I had to tell her that we had been to see a paed as DS2 is very small and always will be.We do not want to comment on height as DH is v tall as is DS1 so we are conscious of the fact that DS2 will have to come to terms with being significantly shorter than the other men in his family.
She tried to get my son to stand next to his cousin at Xmas at SIL's in front of everyone, then cried out in a triumphant voice that GC was taller. I pulled her on it then she wouldn't speak to me and 'accidentally' elbowed me on the way past. I was incandescent with rage that she could be so vile to my lovely son. Even when he was trying to speak to her at Xmas she wasn't really interested. She also did tiny things and made small comments which were small in themselves but always were a way of pointing out that the GC was superior to my son.
She has done many nasty bullying things to us in the past but I feel that publicly measuring my son like that was just the last straw. I have told DH to sort it out and, like many husbands on these threads, he wants to put his head down and let it flow over him. He has a v low self esteem himself, due, I suspect, to his childhood but I have told him that no parent worth their salt would allow their child to be compared like that and he needs to stand up to her.
My initial thought is to just have nothing more to do with her. I have absolutely had enough. I don't want DH to meet up with her with the kids without me as I don't trust him to stand up for them. The other point I feel is relevant is that I come from an abusive background myself. I have had psychotherapy and gone n/c with my own family. I am not sure if i am over-reacting about the situation with DH's mother as I may be hyper-vigilant about protecting my children from feelings of inferiority and shame.
She will be back up in 6 weeks. I have no desire to go near her or let her near my children. I know that DH will want a compromise. Any thoughts? If anyone has actually read all this, thank you in advance.
So, now that you have told your husband what you expect from his as a parent, what is he actually intending to say/do?
When MIL comes up every 6 weeks, who does she stay with?
What would you need to do in order to NOT see her on these visits?
She sounds absolutely vile. I wouldn't have her near my children behaving like that. Your dh needs to stand up to her but I doubt it will end well if he did so perhaps cutting her out of your life would be best. How does you SIL react? Surely she could help pull MIL up on her behaviour?
She always stays at SIL's for about 4 days every 6 weeks but tends to spend half a day at ours (when DH is at work).
I don't know what I expect DH to do. It's all tangled up with the fact that my own parents were v abusive. I don't know how to 'sort' things as I just went n/c with my own.
I really wish we never had to see her again as I don't think she adds anything to our lives but again that may be because I have never had a normal relationship with my own parents. I don't know. DH's family seems to go by the 'go along with mum' and sit in quiet misery approach and I thinks he wants me to do that too. I don't want to.
SIL just seems to go along with it all but then she gets the good deal out of it - her child is the one being adored and MIL babysits for them etc.
I forgot to mention that the last time I left MIL in charge of my two (for about ten minutes) when I returned she had lost DS2 and hadn''t even noticed. It was in an art gallery in a city and he had got far enough away to be on a different floor and have been apprehended by some lovely teenage girls. He was almost 3. The thing that upset me was that she hadn't even noticed that he was missing
I think you need to protect your children from this toxic woman. They are going to notice how differently they are treated and start to feel inferior compared to your DN.
I think I need to protect them too but I feel sorry to remove their only remaining grandparent . Also DH is going to be upset about it all.
she sounds utterly poisonous and you would be doing your children a favour by at least partly blanking her out.
Let her come to your house once in a blue moon if she must, but no more parties, no more days out.
My mil was kind if the same but not as bad as yours.
Her golden child got trips to the cinema, theatre, holidays etc.. She even got a pony!
That golden child turned into a nasty little mare who is now an adult and I refuse to have her in my house (drug abuse)
Mil new golden child is spoken about like she's royalty. She has her own pony from mil too. If mil comes to see my dcs the GC has to come too. My dcs never see mil on her own unless she's after money
It's wrong on many levels and my middle dc used to get really upset when mil and GC spike of all the wonderful things they had done together.
Thank you for your replies. I am never really sure about what is appropriate behaviour in families due to my own background. I will be showing this thread to my DH.
Having no grandmother in their life would be preferable to having one that treats them this way. I just don't get how some people can live with themselves!
some people are just cunts sorry.
Imagine measureing the boys like that in public!
I am quite incensed on yours and your children's behalf mistletoe!
I think I need to protect them too but I feel sorry to remove their only remaining grandparent
Why? She's horrible and doesn't treat them as a grandparent or any loving relation should. They'll lose nothing and gain lots.
Also DH is going to be upset about it all.
Sorry, he needs to put his children first and break the pattern.
I would have nothing more to do with her she sounds cruel, your children would be better off without her in their lives.
She is a bully who deserves neither your pity or your company. I would write and explain what your issues are and that you won't be seeing her again, but your DH must be on board. She sounds vile. FWIW. My mum had a grandma who treated her like your DS 2 is bring treated and it affected her greatly.
Sounds like MIL has anger issues and is (perhaps unconsciously) manifesting these through passive aggressive acts involving the GC. You can't change her behaviour but you can take action to prevent your children being directly influenced by this. I agree with others that it's your responsibility to protect your children. You wouldn't allow anyone else to make them feel small or bully them. They're powerless to protect themselves, after all. Their welfare needs to be considered before any issue affecting older family members because they're a blank canvas and will accept whatever happens now as normal. If your MIL 'tells' your son he's inferior to someone else, he'll probably accept it - as your DH seems to have done in the past. I would issue a warning - which won't work - and perhaps ask your MIL not to mention the other GC when she's in your home. I expect she'll be worse than ever but your DH will probably need to see that you tried to resolve the situation in her favour. Then I'd remove them from the situation.
You've said several times that you don't know what "appropriate behavior" is.
I think that you DO know what appropriate behavior is. Look at it this way: you know exactly what behavior you feel uncomfortable with, right? The things that feel "wrong" -- such as your MIL belittling your DC, and your DH refusing to take a stand.
You know what's wrong. You know what's right. Trust your instincts: they will steer you true.
I wouldn't let her in the door let alone near any children. Poisonous old witch. You need to protect them from this vile woman.
Your children are not going to lose out by not seeing their grandmother if their memories of time with her are all about how she made them feel inferior and drove their mum up the wall/caused trouble between their parents. And trust me, they'll pick up on that MiL makes their DF unhappy too even if he thinks he never shows it, and their loyalty will be wholly with you and their dad.
I'd quietly take the kids to go do something else so DH can see her and spend time with her on his own. Is she really going to mind or miss them? If she questions it, then you've got the door open to either raise with her if you want to that she doesn't seem to like them very much or mind about their feelings and you'd rather not expose them to that - or you can just make an excuse about they're so busy, football practice, etc etc, do tell us how is lovely golden child these days? If she has a genuine interest in and care for her GC she'll pursue this and try to fix it. If (my DGM being a case in point) it's all about point scoring, you'll get rants about entitlement and access that have nothing to do with the DC as people she wants a relationship with, and this will confirm the kids are better out of the situation.
This is hard to read (lots of deep breathing), but if you can still be around her at all, then I like Saturn's idea of telling her you do not want her to mention Golden Child at all.
Why does she come when DH is at work? As in, why should you have to put up with her?
It would be good for him to read this.
I wouldn't have her in my home. Would meet on neutral territory where you can walk out if her behaviour is out of line.
Keep her away from your dc at all costs.
She sounds utterly vile and continued exposure to her will affect your DC badly in the long term.
I'd suggest talking to her but sadly she'll almost certainly deny it. But this is behaviour that will get to your son. Devalued against the other grandchildren is really confidence-denting.
I also think that asking her not to mention the golden child just won't work becuase from the sound of it, your MIL is getting off on crowing over how much 'better' the golden grandchild is. She -will- manage to bring it up very subtly but your poor son will feel it.
I think you quietly need to step away. No need to make a big fuss about it, not if she doesn't force the issue. Stop initiating visits (if you ever do); find somewhere else nice to go instead. If she suggest visits, be vague "oh yes that will be nice sometime" "we're busy now but in a few weeks or months". Forget to turn up if she does pin you down "oh sorry, I forgot to write it down and now I'm in Milton Keynes for the day". She'll take offense ... but isn't that a good result, actually? If she calls round ... be rude. Don't offer her coffee. Be on the way out. Don't make any conversation, make her do all the running. Make non-committal noises and let comments from her sink like a stone. Make it very hard for her to pick a quarrel.
Your own background may have been abusive but just because you're paranoid doesn't mean the buggers arent out to get you. What you are saying very clearly here is that your MIL brings yoru family little pleasure or joy and quite a lot of subtle hurt. There's no need at all to stick around for that - specially as the subtle stuff can have a terrible effect on a child's psyche in the long run.
btw sometimes people from similar backgrounds are drawn together because they kind of know each others' experience, even if it's not that obviously talked about. So in that case, each person would have a weird family.
Having said all this, if you think your MIL -would- respond to an honest talk, try that. It would be much nicer to sort this out. But frankly it doesn't sound possible.
better no grandparent than one who'll hurt your son in the long run by quietly making him a distant second best - and making sure everyone knows it.
I agree with all the pp that she sounds toxic and that her behaviour is unacceptable.
I was wondering how she treated your DH and his DS as children. I suspect that she was the golden child, and he got used to being treated as the also-ran. It might be an approach to follow, that you don't want your ds being treated as he was.
Just a thought.
If all else fails, go nc, by being unavailable all the time.
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