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I'm at my wits end with my partners mother!(40 Posts)
This has been going on a while now, but my partners mother is driving me crazy. She has three children and my partner is the middle child (he has a younger sister and older brother). He was the last child to leave home and is the one she is closest to. She is divorced from his father, who now lives about an hour away with his wife of 15 years and has a comfortable lifestyle. Anyway, she has always suffered from money problems and has ended up in debt several times. When she was married to my partners father he was paying off her debts and left because he got fed up of doing it. She once asked my partner to take out a £2,000 loan for her so she could pay off her debts and have some money left over to buy xmas presents (he refused). She also owes her daughter in law over a £1,000 which she borrowed to pay some debts off. As far as I'm aware she only pays her £10/£20 here and there and doesn't make regular payments. A few months ago (around the time my DS was born), she contacted his brother, and said she needed to borrow £400 off him, as bailiffs had turned up at her hour and threatened to take her car away if she didn't pay the money. It turns out, that she owed this money had received a parking fine and 'forgot' about it. Another thing that annoys me is that she works in the office of a Surestart centre and is constantly telling my what I should and shouldn't be doing with my DS, how I should be holding him, how much milk he should be having and basically telling me I'm doing everything wrong (I'm a first time mum so this makes me feel like a rubbish parent tbh). Conveniently, she always makes comments like this when my partner is not around. One comment in particular left me fuming as she once said 'you'd be surprised what SS pick up on nowadays' - I was gobsmacked and hurt that she said this! We live in a nice house which have decorated from scratch by ourselves and my parents (she never offered any help at all), my DS has everything he needs, always looks presentable, is happy and healthy, and me and his father have a very happy, stable & equal relationship together. When we first found out I was pregnant last year, we were both living with our parents to save up for a deposit on a house. When I was about 2 months pregnant, he came to live with my parents as I was extremely ill for the first 5 months of my pregnancy. Occasionally, he would go home to see his mother and stay overnight, probably about once a month. He was living at my parents house for 6 months- all the while he was paying his mother £250 a month, which she insisted on him paying for 'storage of his possessions', even though he was never there and had changed his address. Every time he tried to confront her about this, she would say that she wouldn't be able to survive without it, and she wouldn't be able to afford to eat (she is a size 20) and pay her bills. My partner only stopped paying her when DS was born. This really annoyed me as we had to have a different pushchair than the one we originally wanted because we couldn't afford the other one (we would have been able to if he wasn't paying his mother). There are many other things that she has said/done which have annoyed me. For instance, at my sons christening a few weeks ago, my partner questioned her about the bailiff incident when she was on her own (she didn't know that he or his sister knew about it) and she started crying in front of everyone and became hysterical, which then made everyone ask questions and took the focus away from my son. When we were ready to leave she asked my partner to stay behind so she could talk to him. Again, this annoyed me as me and DS had to go home alone when I wanted to go home together as a family and open the gifts we had received. My partner returned home THREE hours later and told me that she was still upset and for some bizarre reason, had decided to tell him that she was seeing two guys at the same time (one who she has had a relationship with in the past and is married) which she was really enjoying because she found it 'exciting'. This baffled me & why she felt the need to tell him this on his sons christening day I really don't know. Oh, and to top it off she 'ran out of money' so he paid for the rest of her drinks whilst they were there. Sorry for the extremely long post, I just needed to vent! It just annoys me that she has so much control over my partner and she knows it.
OMG. You can't let this continue. She sounds like a nutter tbh. Crap with money and attention seeking. Your DS doesn't need a gran like this. Personally, I would cut all contact. I would even consider moving quite far away. Drastic, but it would do the trick.
This isn't a DP's mother's problem, it's a DP problem. The only power your DP's mother has over him, is the power he's surrendered to her and the good news is, he can take it back any time he likes. The bad news, is you can't make him.
Make it clear that your partner subsidises his mother's fecklessness from his own money, his child and you have priority when it comes to family money.
By repeatedly financially bailing his mother out, he only enables her to continue her feckless behaviour.
OK, am trying to read this (and so far, you have my sympathy), but FOR THE LOVE OF MIKE, PLEASE could you do some paragraphs next time?
Yep you have a dp problem as he is prioritising his dm over you and your ds.
Deep breath. Isetan has about covered it, I think. Also, your DP should never have chosen that time and place to ask her about the bailiffs. She seems to need little excuse to turn everything into an excuse to monopolise attention. She sounds awful.
Apologies for the lack of paragraphs, I was in full on rant mode, haha. I've calmed down a little now! I have spoken to DP about this issue and he agrees with me. He has said that he won't finically help her out again because it's not fair on us.
Luckily we don't see her that often, she lives about 20-30 minutes drive away and she doesn't like driving over too often because of the cost of petrol . We live around the corner from his sister (who has one child and is expecting another) who doesn't see her much either and DPs brother (who has three kids) lives 3 hours away. He only sees his mother at family gatherings a couple of times a year. She's always moaning that she never sees her grandchildren but expects everyone to turn up on her doorstep so that she doesn't have to go out of her way.
The thing that most annoys me is the amount of emotional control she has over my partner. She is constantly making him feel guilty for things that aren't his fault. He has told me he feels responsible for her because his brother and sister don't bother with her much (I can see why now!), so if anything happens he's always the one she calls and he goes running.
I would also agree with Isetan here; your DH is a part of the problem along with his mother. I would also think that your DP is very conditioned to his mother's ways and is also shoulder deep in FOG (fear, obligation, guilt) with regards to her too. He needs to realise that his primary loyalty is to you now and not his mother.
I would seriously cut off all contact with his mother; she is a bad influence on all those around her. It is NOT your fault she is the ways she is; her own family of origin did that lot of damage to her.
I would read up on narcissistic personality disorder and see how much of that fits in with your own understanding of her disordered behaviours.
She was not a good parent to your partner and is not a good grandparent figure to your child either. Your job amongst many here is to protect him from such malign influences like his grandmother.
The woman is hopeless (feckless, overweight, dysfunctional love life), and so she's regaining some sense of self-worth by lording it over you with the parenting comments. This is something that is between you and her, and you have to be assertive and pull her up on it.
The money thing is your partner's issue. And if he doesn't stand up to her and act assertive on this matter, then I'm afraid that he is letting you and DS down, and you may need to re-assess his role as your partner. Men who are in their mothers' pockets are basically putting their partners and children at the bottom of the pecking order of their priorities. Is that where you want to be?
"The thing that most annoys me is the amount of emotional control she has over my partner. She is constantly making him feel guilty for things that aren't his fault. He has told me he feels responsible for her because his brother and sister don't bother with her much (I can see why now!), so if anything happens he's always the one she calls and he goes running".
Its the control as well as the FOG that keeps people like your man trapped in an also unhealthy co-dependency with his mother.
Its very hard being the last one left to bother with her but he really does need to break free of her control as well like his siblings did. There is very good reason why his siblings do not bother with their mother. He will otherwise be under her thumb for the rest of his days if he does not free. He has to want to break free of her control for his own self; he may need to do this through the help of a therapist and preferably a person who has no bias about keeping families together despite the presence of mistreatment.
I would suggest you read "Toxic Inlaws" written by Susan Forward to further understand the dynamics here.
He has told me he feels responsible for her
As long as he keeps believing this, you are in for more of the same. And you will be painted as the bad guy for getting in between a son trying to be "nice" to his mum.
Crazy as it is, he gets something out of this. The feeling of being "good" by rushing to her side.
How far do you think he is from questioning this dysfunction, and his own role in it?
How much more of it do you think you can stand?
When he returned home the night of my DS's Christening, we had a huge argument, which is rare for us as we do not argue very often. This spoilt my sons christening day if I'm honest.
Anyway, that night she had also told him how she had started to have some bad days (don't we all?) and that she felt as through her depression was making a comeback. She said this was because she was lonely and she was struggling to pay for food as all her money was going towards the bills (she earns more than DP).
After hearing this, I replied with something along the lines of, 'She can't be struggling to pay for food that much, judging by her size'. Probably not the best thing to say in the situation but I was really wound up by this point. After that, all hell broke loose.
He has repeatedly stated since then that me & DS come first and we always will. He has also said that because his Dad left home when he was 7, and his brother left home at 17, he has always felt like he had to take on the dad/partner role. However, now he has his own family to look after, he understands that he cannot continue to act this way towards his mum.
Oh, and just another thing, she has admitted to both me and DP in the past that before his dad left, he was looking after the kids and she was at a neighbours house smoking weed! This is the woman that has the nerve to lecture me about parenting!
I only mentioned her size because she basically makes out that she cannot afford to eat. Yet it is pretty obvious that she can. Also, she has admitted to DPs sister that she has put weight on recently, so she is obviously contradicting herself. I didn't mention it to be malicious or spiteful
re your comment:-
"He has repeatedly stated since then that me & DS come first and we always will. He has also said that because his Dad left home when he was 7, and his brother left home at 17, he has always felt like he had to take on the dad/partner role. However, now he has his own family to look after, he understands that he cannot continue to act this way towards his mum".
His actions speak louder than words and those tell a different story. He still needs to step up and his mother assigned him those particular roles he speaks of. He is really in an unhealthy codependent relationship with his mother.
Is he actually going to now put some proper boundaries in place?. Whether he will actually put his own self and his family first now is another matter entirely, that is up to him ultimately. Has he really considered why his siblings have really nothing to do with their mother now?.
Bleh. You have my sympathy. She does sound a bit attention seeking and a tad manipulative but its your partner who needs to kind of tell her to 'sort it aat mum.'
I have said to him that if he doesn't say something to her I will. She already thinks that I don't like her. The last couple of times we have seen her I have been distant and a little abrupt with her. I'm getting sick of keeping sweet when we're around her now (which I have always done in order to keep the peace). I'm also sick of listening to her lies and self pity.
I have told my partner that if he continues to put his mother first that's it. I wouldn't think twice of telling her exactly what I think, and if nothing changes I won't think twice about ending the relationship. I think this really shocked him tbh because apart from the issues with his mother, we have both always been very happy together and we both think the world of our son.
To be honest, he is amazing partner in every other aspect, supportive, kind, easy-going, funny and caring. The trouble is, he's too much of a soft touch, so his mother can easily manipulate and use him.
you would end the relationship over his mother? I'm sure she would love that. Bit of an overreaction. How do you know you wont find someone else with an annoying relative. There are plenty around. We just manage it sometimes as best we can. No family is perfect.
Its some ways you have a nice partner a lot of men don't give a toss about their mothers. He has a good quality.
She is not just "annoying", his mother is attention seeking, manipulative and has no filter. Why should the OP have to put up with such an unfeeling and uncaring relative?.
Jelly - what was his response to your second paragraph in your most recent post?.
True, but why should me & my son play second fiddle to his mother? Obviously I don't want to end the relationship & I would only do so in extreme circumstances. However, I think something needs to make him realise that he cannot keep running to her every time she rings and says she's upset or she's got relationship/money trouble. She doesn't expect his sister to come running and never burdens her with her problems.
Everything always has to be about her and what she wants. It's not fair on DP.
Attila- He got really upset. I explained that I don't mean to sound harsh, I just want him to understand what it's like for me. I know it's difficult for him too, he has enough things to worry about without having his mothers situation on his mind.
His mother, however, doesn't seem to even consider this, or how he might be left stressed and concerned. In the past, he has admitted that the stress of having to worry about her has made him ill- nobody else knows this though.
Its not fair on you either.
Your man ultimately has to make a choice; to keep playing the dysfunctional game with his mother or to withdraw from her entirely?. Would he consider seeing a therapist about this dysfunctional mother-son relationship?.
His mother is very typical of many emotionally unhealthy parents and he is still feeling the legacy of all that damage done by her to him even now. He is still seeking her approval, approval she will never freely give him.
I would certainly keep her far away from your child.
dotty - what he's doing is not "nice" at all:
- By swooping to her rescue, he's preventing his mother from learning how to stand on her own two feet. Basically agreeing with her that she's helpless.
- He's putting his own needs on hold, and the needs of his family, which he is responsible for, for another grown adult who he is not, in fact, responsible for.
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