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Going LC/NC with MIL?(14 Posts)
Name changed as this situation is quite specific, plus I may show thread to DH to help with the discussion.....
Writing for advice from
brutally honest lovely mnetters about MIL situation. Will try to keep this brief!!
DH and I have been together a long time. Have toddler DC. If I'm honest, I've never liked MIL because she is rude, tactless, has no awareness of other people's feelings or personal space (!), says horrible things to people including DH and has upset him many times over the years. Says things like "oh I didn't think you'd fit into those trousers, I thought you were too fat" for example (not said to me)
I have always been able to 'tolerate' her company at events by passing a few civil pleasantries whilst basically inside rising above her comments and not really giving a toss what she actually thinks of me.
But since I have had Pfb (who was much longed for a fought for) my indifferent tolerance has turned into a deep hatred! I can't help it! I just don't want the woman anywhere near me or my precious DC!
I started off trying to give her the benefit of the doubt. I invited her around before the baby was born to show her things we had bought, saw her at the hospital so she could hold the baby despite having a REALLY traumatic delivery and really being in NO fit state for visitors. Had her around several times in the early days and tried to include her in things like bathing the baby etc.
But on each and every occasion she has been out of line, said something offensive or just plain been horrible.
Examples: when shown baby stuff said (to a heavily pregnant woman remember!) "and can you return all this stuff if something goes wrong?" And "are you buying in any formula in case you fail horribly at breastfeeding?"
Said to me out of the blue about 6 weeks after the birth "you've lost weight, but you still have a bit of a stomach don't you"
She invades my personal space all the time when I'm holding pfb. When pfb woke up from their nap she snatched baby out of my arms and walked off with baby, despite baby screaming for a feed and my boobs leaking everywhere.
On another occasion at a family thing we walked through the door and she literally ran over, snatched baby out of my arms (I'm not exaggerating) and proceeded to pass baby around like a pass the parcel. This upset pfb a great deal who is a very clingy baby and is genuinely terrified of strangers.
Pfb also suffered terribly with reflux and screamed a lot and would not sleep. Mil advice was to put baby in cot, shut the door and just let them scream. An 8 week old baby. Seriously. She said "that's what I did with all of mine. Parents have to get their rest"
Obviously we filed this under 'bollocks' and carried on doing it our way (Dr Sears style!)
Currently we live abroad so have not seen mil for many months. Unlikely to see her again for another 18months-2 years.... But I know when we move back she will want to be around pfb (and possible siblings by then?). I just don't want her having a relationship with pfb. I don't see what positive thing she has to offer.
Last incident was just before we left and she was holding pfb. Pfb started to cry and I said please give baby back so I can settle them. She said "no I'm not giving them back" and refused! DH had to shout at her before she let go of baby.
DH does recognise that his DM can be difficult and does challenge her on her behaviour. But ultimately it makes no difference to her behaviour. DH wants to have an ongoing relationship with her but I just can't see how it will work, even going low contact. I know I will always be so tense around her, waiting for her to say something hurtful or inappropriate to pfb (have witnessed this with her other DGC....example "he's enough to put you off having children" said in front of 3 year old DGC who has later said "why does grandma hate me?")
DH just feels devastated about the idea of going NC though, as he does love her and want to have a relationship with her. He doesn't think that me and DC going to NC but him still seeing her is an option (I don't really understand why but his mind is made up on that one). He thinks it's all or nothing.
It's not immediately pressing but it does play on my mind and every time we bring it up we just argue and it never gets resolved/we never make any kind of decision. I don't even know what I want to do really. NC feels quite harsh, but on the other hand the thought of pfb being around her makes my heart shudder.
MN jury, what do I do? Have you been in a similar situation? What did you do? What can you advice?
Sorry it was so long after all
Ps, I may not be able to check on replies that speedily!
Well... look on the bright side, your DC won't be your tiny soft little PFB when you meet her next, but a feisty toddler who she will find it much harder to snatch because it'll wriggle and scream! The answer to the "why does grandma hate me" question is just that some people, even grown-ups, say some very silly things and it doesn't mean they don't like or love you. I don't suppose she hates the child at all so it is safe enough to say, and will also prepare them for when they go to school and some kid says something awful (there's always one) which they'll know not to take to heart.
(I had a horrible feeling you might be my DIL at first, but they don't live abroad and I can promise you I have never grabbed anyone's baby. I do, however, open my big mouth and spout a lot of rubbish at times.)
Thing is, she may have given birth to your DH, for which I suppose some gratitude is in order, but there's just no getting on with some people. DH is just going to have to accept, some time over the next couple of years, that his wife and his mother are two people who are never going to see eye-to-eye and are better not thrown together more often than strictly necessary. He might wish everyone to be a big happy family but sadly it ain't gonna happen. For your part, when it becomes unavoidable to be in her company, just grit your teeth, ignore as much as possible, smile and nod, and make it clear that DH owes you BIG time for it afterwards...
You need to calmly but firmly tell her the impact of her words and actions. Repeatedly.
If you continue to say unpleasant things to me\my child\my dh, you will find you see a lot less of us.
If you refuse to hand me baby back to me on request, I will not allow you to hold him\her.
I'd be going no/low contact but never once putting DH in a position where he had to choose.
I guessing he thinks you ought to tackle her together because he knows he won't cope by himself and that he'll be a victim of her attack on you to add to the attacks on him. Tbh that's tough. You are perfectly entitled to have nothing more to do with her if that's best for you.
You've got a while before all this comes up. I personally wouldn't be thinking about this until then. You've got that time to be a time of peace to build up your relationship with your DH without her. Make the most of it.
I have a horrific mil, very much like yours and then some.
I'm nc with her and dh is very lc, it works for us. We had a big gap in contact like you will which made changing to nc/lc much easier.
Dh will take the dc's with him once in a blue moon, they meet in a public place where there is something else for dc to do, this bit works well now they're older.
You've got a while before anything has to be decided, I'd leave the subject for a while and see how your dh feels nearer the time. A period of time not seeing her will make him see you all don't have to see her.
My response to Dc asking why Grandma hates him/her would be to say that Grandma hates everyone, it's not personal darling and start getting it out there! Call her on her behaviour every single time without fail. The future will then take care of itself one way or the other. Either DH will see her for what she is and go total NC or he will see the only way ahead is for him to visit her alone and she and you and the DCs inhabit two circles of his life that never intersect.
"DH just feels devastated about the idea of going NC though, as he does love her and want to have a relationship with her"
But why, has he explained further why?. Her behaviours towards him are not at all loving ones; I am wondering if he is still trying to seek her approval even now. This btw she will never give him but he still persists. He does not challenge her enough on her behaviour, after all he has had a lifetime of such conditioning and in the main regards this as normal.
But at what cost to him and by turn you?. His primary loyalty should after all be to you; his overall inertia when it comes to his mother is simply hurting him as well as you. I think he is very afraid of his mother and far more afraid of her than he ever would be of you. I also think FOG (fear, obligation and guilt) are also playing roles here with regards to him too. it may well be too that he wishes you all to get along so that he does not have to get further involved.
I would read "Toxic Inlaws" written by Susan Forward to further understand the dysfunctional dynamics.
And reconsider moving back. If you do move back its going to have to be many, many miles from where she is currently living.
Boundaries will certainly need to be further raised before that time too.
I am NC with MIL, DH is phone contact only, she is not allowed to ring the house (going on nearly 15 years).
It works because we live away (hour by car, 2 by bus) and she doesn't drive.
It also works because she has, to be frank, zero interest in me.
Oh, and it helps that DH doesn't like her very much.
Low contact is easier (because you can do it bit by bit, in quite a stealthy manner) but No contact is nicer (for me anyway).
If I had my time again (we went NC when DD was 6 months old) I would have been more forthright in standing up for myself rather than waiting for DH to defend me.
Geographical distance is a wonderful, wonderful thing.
Thank you for your replies. Sorry for the delay in returning to the thread.
For those of you who went NC, what was the tipping point? What actually made you say 'enough!'
And did you explain why you were going NC? Did you give them a chance first?
The reason this plays on my mind is that it affects how much I involve her now, even living abroad.
I never want to FaceTime with her and pfb (have only done twice in 6 months) and only with DH too.
She's recently asked for pictures of pfb, but I feel (childishly) that I don't want her to have any. I feel like she doesn't 'deserve' them or something.
I feel like she has consistently disregarded pfbs needs (eg crying for me/boob etc) for her own selfish ends and ultimately only has her own desires in mind.
Also, there is the possibility that pil will want to come and visit at some point, especially if we had another baby. The thought of it makes me shudder!!!
How do you in force boundaries with someone who basically has no respect for you??
Be willing to offend them.
"we'd like to come" "No, Im afraid that doesn't work for us"
"I'd like some photos of him" Ah, we don't have any good ones, I don't like digital ones being sent around (or some such line). We'll get some professional ones done then send you a copy
But if your poor little one is saying 'why does Grandma hate me", that's enough. You can't be having that. Your priority is to protect the littles. Your husband can do what he wants, you can keep saying to him that he can have a relationship with her if he wants until he feels okay with that, but I do think you and the little one needs to be apart from her.
Sorry, it was mil other (older) DGC who said "why does grandma hate me?" That was some years ago. But illustrates what she's like
(Pfb not talking yet!)
sorry I miswrote, did realise that it was not your little one who said that. Did take the point that it was a really sad thing for the child to say that :s
For those of you who went NC, what was the tipping point? What actually made you say enough! And did you explain why you were going NC? Did you give them a chance first?
Well, it's a long story (but I'll try and be brief) and I'll highlight the relevant bit.
My mum passed away shortly before I got pregnant with DD (in 2000), MIL at that time was having some mental health issues (she has a long history of depression/anxiety and has been sectioned numerous times through her life - DH and his side of the family will therefore do whatever it takes not to 'upset' her).
Thru my pregnancy, MIL showed no interest in me at all, but became increasingly obsessed with us rehoming our cats
to her house which led to her writing to my dad asking if she could have the cats (they moved to us after mum died as dad works away). I went batshit crazy and DH told FIL to tell her to back off. She also wrote to dad to tell him that 'because Raptors mum is dead, I'm the only person Raptor can turn to'.
When I gave birth she pretended to be my mum to get info from the hospital.
MIL/FIL turned up within hours (with camera) and she suggested DD should have a double barrelled surname 'MILMaidenname/DHsurname'.
When I was in hospital she left more than one message per hour on the home phone (I think the record was 15 in one day between 9-6)
She took to ringing us in the night (because we 'would be up anyway'). one night she rang every hour from midnight to 6am.
When DD was 3 months old FIL left MIL, no-one else in the family was speaking to her at this point.
By now I no longer answered the phone to anyone. MIL took to leaving a message for DH at 9am most days, and was becoming more abusive.
When DD was 6 months old, she left a message so abusive I called BT and had her number blocked. That was the day DH stopped answering her calls at work. There was no warning from us, and DH didn't speak to her for 3 years.
She was abusive for a while after the NC which included writing to our friends/family/neighbours to tell them how awful we were and telling Social Services we were abusing DD.
DH reinstated contact as his paternal GM asked him to. He now has phone contact (she rings him weekly at work) and he has seen her once at a family funeral. I remain NC.
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