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Differing views of MIL. Can we survive this?

(35 Posts)
boodlekazam Mon 11-Jan-16 20:41:50

Long story short.
I have had issues with MIL since falling pregnant with DD 3 years ago. Intrusive behaviour, critical of parenting, assuming, sucks our energy and time, won't listen, rude... etc etc

The final occasion she upset me by interfering in our finances I made it clear to DH that I did not want to spend long periods of time in her company.

Fast forward 12 months and DH and MIL wants us all to go on holiday together. I find her intimidating and overwhelming to the point of feeling sick. I've said no. I know I shouldn't let her affect me the way she does but cannot change the fact. He's mad at me, thinks I need to move on and MIL is all disappointed of course. He thought I'd grow more tolerant of her over time, but the opposite is the truth. I find her a dreadful dreadful woman.
DH is hurting and I can see us separating. Is there a way for our marriage to survive this?
I've read toxic inlaws, followed all the advice and seemingly had DH on board, but time appears to loosen his boundaries and make him forget.

Can we find a way to stay together like this?

ImperialBlether Mon 11-Jan-16 20:48:04

The thing is, she's completely different with him, isn't she? He wouldn't go on holiday with someone who talked to him like she talks to you.

Stick to your guns. It's your holiday, for god's sake. Why would you want to go with someone you don't like? And 99% of women wouldn't want to go on holiday with their MIL even if they love her. Tell him to ask 10 women at work and see what they say!

magoria Mon 11-Jan-16 21:02:50

I don't see your marriage surviving because your H is insisting on putting his mother over your happiness and well being.

If you give in on this you will be giving in every time. You have to stay firm now or you will be on shifting sands for a long time.

boodlekazam Mon 11-Jan-16 21:11:47

It's true. She is completely different.
Infact she does not talk to me, not at all really. I'm given a side-ward hello and glance when I see her and if I speak, she cuts me off regularly. Unless she's asking me a question about something she wants to know about. She pretty much ignores me and gushes at how much DD is like DH and my SIL as if I'm a mere egg donor!

So no, I don't want to go on holiday with her. DH is bartering for just a night as compromise but, no I can't even do that. An hour in her company is really enough.

PhoenixReisling Mon 11-Jan-16 21:31:02

I get on with my MIL and she treats me like l am her own daughter. In fact, I have a better relationship with her than I do my own mother. Yes, we disagree on aspects of my parenting of DC; but, she knows when to push and when not to as I am very firm with her.

I have been on holiday with my PILS on two occasions and it was tough! You are all forced to spend more time with each other and any niggles can be amplified.

If your relationship with your MIL is how you describe, you need to stand your ground and say NO! A holiday will only compound everything....the alienation, the undermining and also your DH being emessed in the disfunction.

Soooosie Mon 11-Jan-16 21:35:02

Tell him if your mil was nicer to you, you'd consider it but wouldn't presently because she's quite rude

DoreenLethal Mon 11-Jan-16 21:38:57

Why would anyone go on holiday with someone like that?

pinkyredrose Mon 11-Jan-16 21:44:40

Doesn't he believe you when you tell him how awful she is Maybe you could record her?!

boodlekazam Mon 11-Jan-16 21:52:29

He thinks it's all down to the way I perceive her. I told DH I found it rude that she didn't even look at the lovely handmade present I gave her at Xmas (let alone say thankyou) and he told me it's just her manner and I'm supposed to accept it. I find her manner very offensive, but apparently it's not personal. I struggle to understand it.

When she comes to visit she won't even accept the offer of a drink and tells me she would prefer to make her own.

She asks intrusive questions, ignores me when I speak.
I find it all very, very rude.

HypodeemicNerdle Mon 11-Jan-16 22:05:25

I feel for you, I've been in a similar position (in the end DH, the kids and I moved half way around the world. That works really well but it's an extreme solution!)
Ask him how he would feel if you acted towards his mum the way she acts towards you. That was a bit of a lightbulb moment for my DH

boodlekazam Mon 11-Jan-16 22:11:20

I actually did that once Hypodeemic and treated her the way she does me. I even went so far as making sarcastic comments towards her and gushing at how DD is like me and how much it pleases me. I asked
DH how it made him feel afterwards and he replied that he hadn't even noticed I'd been rude!

diddl Tue 12-Jan-16 09:05:54

Leaving aside the fact that you don't get on, there are many people who wouldn't want to holiday with ILs, or own parents even if they did get on.

Why is he so determined to holiday with her?

springydaffs Tue 12-Jan-16 09:17:23

Bcs he wants to play pretend didd.

He wants the easy life op and you're supposed to pay for it.

His job is to protect YOU, not his mother. Actually, he's protecting himself.

boodlekazam Tue 12-Jan-16 11:09:55

He's determined to holiday with her because it appears to really please him. He really enjoys the company of his parents and enjoys nothing more than for them to accompany us on day trips etc.
He's from a very close-knit family circle who are all accepting of the enmeshment in each others lives, something I struggle with hugely.
DH has improved massively in becoming more a part of our own family than the one his parents created, but it appears to be 2 steps forward and one back.

boodlekazam Tue 12-Jan-16 11:12:23

I sometimes wonder how he will cope when they're no longer here. He appears to rely on them for a whole lot of things and it's initiated by him as much as it is them.

schlong Tue 12-Jan-16 11:30:01

He can go on his own ffs. Don't let DD go though.

NNalreadyinuse Tue 12-Jan-16 11:30:54

Stick to your guns. He is being so very unfair in asking this of you knowing how badly behaved his mother is towards you.

He is inherently very selfish - he expects you to put up and shut up, so that his life runs how he wants it to and is making no effort to reel his mother back in. She behaves like this because he allows it.

I would want relationship counselling at a minimum because it's like he has a mental block stopping him from seeing all this.

I would also go very low, almost nc with mil. No one should be forced into the company of a person who cannot be civil to them.

A lot of posters disagree with me on this but if you have dc, I wouldn't allow mil access to my dc until she could be polite and civil to me. I think that women who allow their dh's to take the dc to visit toxic ils without them, are just giving the ils what they want and further allowing their own alienation from the family unit. Children need to see their mothers being treated with respect. Not sure if that is relevant to you though.

DangerMouth Tue 12-Jan-16 11:36:56

I holiday with my IL but l like them, and assume they like me (or hide it well enough smile). No chance I'd go into a situation like this where it was something l really didn't want to do.

But, l would call my mil and have it out with her a say if you can't at least pretend to like me you'll never get that family holiday. Then the ball's in her court.

diddl Tue 12-Jan-16 11:57:12

"if you can't at least pretend to like me you'll never get that family holiday."

Well they might, just without OP, & that might do them well enough.

Getting on well with your parents & wanting to spend time with them is lovely, but not at the expense of your own family/marriage.

I seeing ILs without you likely to be detrimental to yourdaughter?

DangerMouth Tue 12-Jan-16 12:21:11

Not in my family diddl. If the IL weren't nice to me my dc wouldn't be holidaying with them without me.

diddl Tue 12-Jan-16 12:56:56

Yes, but the problem is that he doesn't ackowledge that his mum is rude to OP, so why would he not be "allowed" to take his daughter?

" I find her intimidating and overwhelming to the point of feeling sick. I've said no. I know I shouldn't let her affect me the way she does but cannot change the fact."

It is hard but you can change how it affects you.

Some things you need to let go, I think.

For example she didn't respond to a present in the way you hoped. So put no thought or effort in another time, or better still,leave it to your husband.

She prefers to make her own drink-so what?

Intrusive question-ignore as ahe seems to have no problem doing thatto you!

PeachPantaloons Tue 12-Jan-16 13:09:20

I completely agree with NNalreadyinuse
Sounds like relationship counselling or even counselling on his own would be hugely beneficial to try and make him address his mummy issues and realise his responsibilities and loyalties should be to you and DD.

Also agree with the low/NC. It's her choice to behave so awfully to you, she's a grown adult and has to face the consequences of her own behaviour and DD needs to see you treated with respect.

We're with you OP!

tb Tue 12-Jan-16 13:15:50

I feel for you OP.

Back in the day, when we went to see the outlaws, mil would greet us with a "Hello, Son, hello tb". The tone of voice in the first greeting was like full summer sunshine, the second was as if she'd just realised she'd stepped in dogshit wearing new white silk shoes, or worse.

She used to insist on kissing me, too - and she never had her teeth in - except for hospital appointments. I even paid her gas bill the year we were saving to get married as dh had needed to repair the gear box on his old banger, and I earned £1800pa at the time.

After 10 years of marriage, she finally realised that I was in it for the long haul and she accepted me. The year before she died she trusted me enough to tell me that she'd been a victim of incest. I'm very proud of that trust. Less than 2 years later she died, and she was more of a mother to me than my own.

Every row we had in the first 10 years was pretty much down to her.

Eventually we managed to laugh about it, and gave them nicknames - depending on who was talking we referred to them by the initials 'yfm' or 'mfm' - dh, never very quick to notice things - came home one night pissing himself with laughter - he noticed a car that had been around for while. It was a Porche with the plate 911/928 YFM.

DH hadn't gone to university in the conventional way, and so getting married was the first time he'd lived away from home, and his parents had 'groomed' him to be their support in retirement, never expected him to get married etc etc - more like 'hoped' he wouldn't. It took him 10 years to see the reality of the situation.

I hope for you, that your dh doesn't have such a long learning curve - FWIW, I loved my mil in the end, and it's a pity the opportunity to get closer didn't come sooner. She might have had the courage and the opportunity to get help for the ptsd that had destroyed her life from 1942, even though the abuse happened before 1927 when the 'd'b died.

ThumbWitchesAbroad Tue 12-Jan-16 13:40:17

What I find really telling is that you behaved towards his mother the same way she does to you and he didn't even notice that you'd been rude - well no, he wouldn't would he - he's lived with that behaviour his whole life, it's normal to him! So he's not going to notice his mother doing it to you either.

She would have noticed though, I'm quite sure.

I'm not going to say that you should go on holiday with her, because I wouldn't want to go with my own MIL and I get on pretty well with her - but I do think that you need to manage your responses to her better if she's making you feel so ill.

You're not going to be able to get rid of her - so develop strategies.
Rudeness you've already tried, how did it go? Your DH didn't notice, but what was her response?
What about vague drifty civility? Where she asks you something and you look around as though you're not sure who spoke and answer vaguely then drift off before she can carry on the questioning?
Any intrusive questions can be answered with "I prefer not to say" or "I don't think you need to know that" and turn the subject.
If she persists in her rudeness, go to the MN standard of "I'm sorry, I'm not sure I heard that right, did you really say X? Did you mean to be so rude?"

YOu can play MIL bingo with yourself. And then have an inward snigger every time you get full house.

I still wouldn't go on holiday with her though - maybe try the one night just as a compromise and give some of the suggestions for managing your responses a go?

boodlekazam Tue 12-Jan-16 13:49:57

Thanks for the suggestions on dealing with MIL... I have tried a few over the last 3 years and started to feel much better until a few months ago when I dropped my guard as we were going through a particularly tough time with a family bereavement on my side.
Thinking tactfully and cunningly isn't something that comes naturally to me, so if I'm not feeling great, down goes my guard. This is another reason I can't be around her for long periods... I'm feeling quite vulnerable still and just haven't got the head space for dealing with her. I'm not sure if she plays on it too tbh. When I'm on top form, she seems yo behave herself...

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