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help understanding my husband's family

(15 Posts)
bubblymummy Sun 19-Nov-06 22:26:05

My DH is from southern Italy and a consumate mummy's boy and I've always found it difficult to handle his nice but needy family. However since the birth of our DS their ever increasing influence is getting out of hand.

Despite my protestations DH insisted on bringing MIL to England when DS was 4 weeks (I had asked no staying visitors for at least two months and short visits as we live in a small flat) under the guise of help. Help? - she can't book a flight or fly alone, can't speak English and is too scared to leave the flat. She was basically horrible and it set off terrible rows with DH. She was of no help and therefore quite a hinderance yet 24/7 she would follow me around, criticise what I did (she'd even rearrange the bibs I put on DS), would burst into the bedroom when I was breastfeeding demanding to know what I was doing to make him cry, wouldn't hand him over when time to breastfeed and sang songs about how I didn't know what I was doing. Told me DH worked hard and shouldn't do anything and DH picked up on this and refused to even put the shirts I had ironed for him in his cupboard. I'd just had a csection. DH even shouted that I should f* off but leave the baby. I felt like shit in my own home.

The result, after 4 weeks, my breastmilk dried up (and I'm very upset about that), the suspected fracture on my foot took ages to heal as I was expected to run around and do the shopping and take her for walks and the recovery from the csection was pretty slow.

We're going to Italy for Christmas and I'm dreading more of the same - worse on her territory. She's completely over the top about her grandchild but I'm fed up of them colonising everything.


How do I deal with this. I feel my life is now so dumbed down my own son won't respect me.
These cultural differences are getting too much. I got married in Italy in church to please her but she wouldn't she insisted on having beef on the menu (my family are Hindu) or having the wedding a few months later as my gran had just passed away. I don't want my DS baptised as I'm angloindian and after a 15 year relationship I think DH and family need to respect the fact that I also have cultural needs.

It's got to the stage where I've hidden DS birth certificate in case they try to get him an Italian passport. I don't trust them anymore.

DH and I have discussed seperation but he's being all nice now he reaises he wouldn't see DS very often. But our marriage has taken a huge battering over this. Now I'm not putting any energy into the relationship there is no energy in it all which is very telling.

Any advice???

fireflyxmasfairylights2 Sun 19-Nov-06 22:29:42

Oh I am sorry I have no advice for you, but you sound so lonely..have you any friends near you? I just didn't want to read and not reply, I hope someone here can help you, big love to you and your ds {{{{{hugs}}}}}

ilovecaboose Sun 19-Nov-06 22:33:05

I don't know what to say. But didn't want to read and run.

It sounds like christmas is going to be very difficult for you.

However it also sounds as if you are not happy in your marriage. Christmas in Italy will only last a short time, but your marriage will still be there when you get back (IYSWIM).

Have you thought about counselling?

Will your dh back you up when you visit his family? Does he see there being a problem there?

It must be a very difficult situation for you.

Carmenere Sun 19-Nov-06 22:33:36

Oh dear, obviously your dh should be standing up for you but that sounds unlikely, I personally feel that it is really difficult to fight cultural differences like this. I'm really quite shocked that they made you have beef at your wedding but tbh I feel that you should have put your foot down about things like this a long, long time ago. Sorry for you.

Alibaldi Sun 19-Nov-06 22:34:07

Right. He and his family need to stop bullying you. My MIL (soon to be ex I hope) was just like this needy and nothing was good enough for her favourite no1 son. She even had me running around when pregnant with ds1, to the point where one morning she sat on her backside and said "where's my orange juice?". She's Dutch and speaks no English either. Last time I saw her over a year ago, I had had enough and left her too it, no more running around. She always went to H saying and Ali didn't even make me a coffee. FGS. She rang and said are you cross with me, well let's put it this way I didn't hold back anymore and wish I'd done it years ago.

Take a stand, it's your life, your DS and your H. He needs to grow up and stand by you. He's married to you not his mother. Tell him that you're only going to Italy on your terms for Christmas or not at all. Be strong. They're treating you appalling especially not recognising your faith and your culture. Marriage is a two way street, and sadly I've realised probably too late I was doing all the give give give.

northerner Sun 19-Nov-06 22:35:15

Oh what a horrible situation.

Firstly, it sounds like you were not allowed to recover properley after the birth of your ds. Having his mum follow you around like that must have been unbearable, perticularly with all those hormones flying around Such a shame your dh could not defend you and support you when you needed it most.

His mum sounds like a real handful, no woman is good enough for her boy type of thing.

I think, seeing as you have decided to go to Italy, you will just have to grin and bear most of it. She adores her grandson. So let her hold him, feed him, sing to him etc, and try to relax. Stick your head in a book, go for a walk, have a bath, as difficult as it might be, he is your baby and this is only a short period. She'll be out of the picture again before long.

As far as your son respecting you, of course he will. You are his mum and he'll adore you

Dh sounds a bit of a nob tbh, and needs to get his priorities right.

Hope things work out how you want them to.

edam Sun 19-Nov-06 22:38:18

Your ILs sound scary. Sorry they are being so awful. How's dh been since his mother left? Is he OK when she's not around?

My sister's MIL is Italian and also very controlling. I actually called the MIL to tell her to stop harrassing my sister - MIL has been much more well-behaved ever since. Maybe to do with her knowing my sister also has a family behind her? Do you have anyone who could contact your MIL on your behalf? I know it sounds mad but seems to have worked with my sister's MIL (they have been over to France to visit MIL since and it was OK).

angrydoormat Sun 19-Nov-06 22:55:17

My god. This is exactly what happened to me. DH is turkish and MIL came over to our one bed-roomed flat when DS was 3 weeks old. DH only told me 2 days before that she was coming. She speaks no English and DH was out most days (and nights). Everything revolved around her. She didn't even make one drink for herself. She spent the whole time picking DS out of his cot ( therefore he could only sleep when held) and watched me constantly as I tried breastfeeding him. Guess what? Milk dried because of the stress. When I asked DH how long she was staying- as you do- he went ballistic. She wouldn't even let my mum hold DS! I realised that she came first in DH's heart. (He told me) and like you my love for him died. This was supposed to be a special time, our first child for goodness sake! I don't want to upset you but your DH will never change. I've stuck with him for the children's sake ( second one a surprise- almost an immaculate conception.)
Don't worry about your DS he'll love you and be on your side as mine is. Children aren't stupid.

bubblymummy Sun 19-Nov-06 23:15:23

Lovely to have all those messages. Things not all that bad. Have the cutest little boy for company. And my mates are fantastic.

Some of this is down to me. I should have put my foot down long ago.

Angrydoormat - my experience is the same as yours in terms of asking how long MIL staying, DH not taking responsibility for MIL, baby learning to sleep only when held and my mother also left in a huff when MIL held onto DS for about 3 hours!

I like the idea of getting a member of my family to call up and warn them off. My folks don't speak Italian but when my mum gets going they'd get the message!!!!!!!!

I will endeavour to salvage this relationship See how things go but no doubt I'll have some stories to tell in January!

On the bright side. DS is a much wanted baby and he's a lovely little kid and I want him to have good relationships with all his relatives.

Thanks so much for the support.

whitecloud Mon 20-Nov-06 17:17:51

Bubblymummy
Feel for you. My MIL was never interested in what mine or my SIL's children wanted to eat or when they needed to. It used to be hell. She is a first-class emotional manipulator, unable to have a civilised adult conversation. It used to be worse when my dd was little - I advise putting up with as much as you can and trying not to stir things until something really important comes up and then you will really have to. It does get better as your children get older. If you treat them right they will soon see through the MIL - my dd is 11 and notices when she is being horrible now.

In my experience men feel very torn between their mother and wife. They know when their mother is being unreasonable and should stand up to her and stick up for you, but their mother is usually an expert emotonal blackmailer.

Have kept quiet for 15 years, but this w/e I did take a stand and said (for various important reasons) that I had to go when we arranged because of getting stuff ready for work and school today. She was trying to manipulate my dh to update her computer virus checker etc (doesn't understand it and hasn't made much effort trying) even though wasn't really necessary. Nine tenths of the time m-i-laws indulge in a power game. These women have to rule the roost and put the d-in-laws in their place. Probably even more so in some countries. Anyway I stood up to her and we went - I completely ignored the emotional blackmail. Feel a lot better for having done so and I think it puts a marker down that you aren't going to be a doormat and stand for it all the time. This could be important as MIL gets older and frailer and thinks you are going to spend your entire life running after her. We live 15 miles away so can see this problem looming !

Am with Ali. Over important things you just have to stand up to them. Luckily I have a S-i-L who gets treated to the same power games, so we stick together and endure !!!! Think if you can find an ally in the family it is a great suggestion.

Hope this helps.

theUrbanDryad Mon 20-Nov-06 17:23:01

alibaldi - my mum is dutch and i have been travelling over in holland since i was born.

i've yet to meet the dutch person who has NO english. even if it's a very basic grasp, they do all mostly speak it a bit.

ah well, at least she's almost your ex MIL!!

FluffyMummy123 Thu 18-Sep-08 22:20:24

Message withdrawn

skinnygirlNOT Thu 18-Sep-08 22:32:42

Cod I don't understand your point ???

anyfucker Thu 18-Sep-08 22:37:07

why are you resurrecting it then cod ?

skinnygirlNOT Thu 18-Sep-08 22:42:11

Sorry Cod, I've just read the other thread.

Get you now.wink

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