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MIL issues(37 Posts)
Hi, sorry about the long post, bit of a background to begin with. I have been with my dh for 4.5 years married for 2 years. In the beginning I had a good relationship with my MIL she seemed really nice, loving and caring, but at the time we lived abroad, so we had limited contact not very frequent visits although she was chatting with my dh everyday and she still does and weekly skype sessions. With time i began to notice that she was very intrusive in my dh life, she likes to know details of everything even our personal life. When i got pregnant she became even more intrusive and overbearing, she kept suggesting she would like be with me when i gave birth and take care of ME afte baby arrives. I politely declined her requests to be there for the birth and suggested we would invite her over when we are ready to have her. She lives France since my dh is french.As it turned out I had my ds 14 weeks ago through an emergency c-section, i was in a lot of pain could not move or do anything at all, so my dh suggested that MIL could come over and help us out (plus she had been insisting to be with us for a long time). As soon as she arrived she took charge/control over everything in our house. She suggested to have very low lights at all time , no sounds in the house nobody was talking anymore we were all whispering and many other things, all this to not disturb the baby. All this was making me very depressed so after a week of having all this i told my dh and MIL we should try to live a normal life because it is making me very depressed and making my ds extremely sensitive. Things were a bit better after that, my dh and I were talking normally but MIL was still whispering all the time. She started changing the organisation of things in my kitchen etc etc. She was cooking, cleaning, food shopping etc which was a great help, but she was also trying to control everything i did with my ds. she kept making snide remarks about everything which she didnt like and she had done differently in her day, she constantly compared and told me what she did when dh was a baby. I got the impression that she could not differentiate between my dh and my baby. Each time ds cried even for a second she would give me the looks and make sounds like i am not doing enough and kept telling me he is crying too much, he never cried more then 2-3 minutes max 5 minutes. But the worst happened when my dh had to go out of country for work for 2 days and I was left alone with her. At this point she had been living with us for almost 6 weeks I was in my bedroom playing/singing to my ds and he was very happy smiling/cooing as soon as i came out of the bedroom MIL said that i should not sing to me and its because of me and my singing that he does not sleep well, at this point i became very angry and we had a huge row. The thing is that i am still very very angry with her i dont want to see her at all atleast in the near future but dh wants to see her quite often now she will visit us next month and i am already dreading her visit. i still keep thinking about our row and all the little things she said before that. The reason for posting here is that I would like some advices from people to face the situation better although i dont want to see her at all, but when i do see her how can spend that time without being too negative. My dh is an only child so being NC is not an option.
You have my sympathies! Would it be possible to go LC? Maybe rent her a hotel or b&b room close-by? Make an excuse to her but make sure ur husband knows what the deal is.
I had an emergency c section too and was lucky my parents came from abroad to help and they did everything for us but luckily they stayed in my old flat down the road. It was great and it also meant we got our own privacy. Not easy having someone staying in ur home for that length of time, it ruins ur own family dynamics but also it's just too much!
And because I've never had my parents stay over, I dont have to have my in laws over. If my MIL stayed here for one night, I think my marriage would be over. I can't bear her presence or her comments for more than a few hrs as it is.
It's your home and your family. You have a right to make different arrangements if you don't want some overbearing French controlling vielle poule come into ur home and patronise you around.
Take ur power back!
Good luck x
Alpies Thanks for your reply, i slightly hinted this option to my dh a long time ago he was not very happy about it, so i dont know what i can do
Its becoming clear to me that i have a dh problem more than a MIL problem, he is a mamma's boy
You likely come from an emotionally healthy family yourself so seeing his mother like this came as a bit of a shock (understatement) to you.
Your DH needs to realise that his primary loyalty is now to you and his child and not his mother. His own inertia when it comes to her is really hurting him as well as his own family unit. He and you need to present a united front when it comes to his mother; you can talk at a normal volume in your home for one thing and he should make that crystal clear to her as well with you present.
You do not mention your DHs dad in all this; is he still around?.
Your DH seems to me to be as problematic as his mother is. Their relationship is certainly dysfunctional.
What boundaries does your DH actually have with regards to his mother?. It also sounds like he is completely enmeshed when it comes to his mother; she has not wanted to cut the apron strings and will not let go of him. He also sounds very much in a FOG (fear, obligation, guilt) state when it comes to his mother as well. She has made him feel extremely obligated to her. She did a bad job when it came to her son, do not let her do similar damage to the next generation.
Boundaries are what create a sense of individuality between people. And although we are all physically separate, it does not mean that we are emotionally separate from another person.
This becomes what is known as enmeshment, here one will look physically separate, but emotionally they will feel attached to the other person. One will feel that they have no boundaries between them and as a result that they are not an individual.
So when it comes to mother enmeshed men, it is describing a man who is emotionally entangled to their mother. While it is true that they may live in a different house or a different part of the country; the emotional cord has not been cut.
Never forget that you are this child's parent and you have the final say.
If your son grows up seeing his nan disrespecting you as his mother constantly what mixed messages does that send him. You need to protect your child from such malign influences. DO not let her parent your child.
Did you tell your DH what she said about your singing to your child?.
Where is she staying on her next visit and how long for this time around; it certainly cannot be in your home. She must not stay in your home, she will need to find alternative accommodation.
Re your comment:-
"My dh is an only child so being NC is not an option"
This is an irrelevant point. You can decide on what boundaries you have with regards to his mother, you can see her as little as you wish.
Your DH may want to continue to have a relationship with his mother but it does not follow that you or your son have to meekly follow suit. She sounds toxic and is not a good person to be around.
You cannot change her but you can certainly raise your own boundaries still higher. You can certainly change how you react to her.
I would also suggest you read Toxic Inlaws written by Susan Forward to further understand the power and control dynamics that are being played out here.
AttilaTheMeerkat Thanks for your reply, my family is very different to dh my dm is not at all intrusive in my life, she is not very maternal either, but a good person overall, so we have very different dynamics altogether, thats why in the beginning i thought MIL was very loving and caring because she appeared very maternal but i now realise it is controlling narcisstic behaviour. FIL is also around (they are divorced) but i get along well with him so far, he is balanced, responsible person and always maintains healthy boundaries. They visit us separately which is another issue because it takes away all the free time we have(i posted another thread about that issue) Well ds says he has boundaries with MIL and he tells me this is her behaviour after the boundaries. She will stay with us when she visits i really dont want to see her Yes i told my dh about our row although he supported me but i feel its out of some sort of obligation in his heart he still supports his mum and i feel he resents me for that row, he did say i could have handled the situation differently. MIL excuses the intensity of the row on language barrier which is certainly not the case she made it very clear what she wanted to say. I have told dh if MIL continue to behaves the same way i will not see her in the future. But i feel she might pretend to be nice and then sneer her way in our lives again.
OP this is an ongoing issue in my marriage and I have been married 20 years! I didn't realise how bad things were because we lived abroad for 6 years. Since we came back last year all the dysfunction on both their parts has intensified and I have finally been able to recognize how much my DH feeds the dysfunction as much as MIL because this kind of intrusiveness is normal for him and what he considers loving.
Your DH is not putting any meaningful boundaries up, he is leaving you to be the "mean" one because you will say "no" when he thinks he can't.
The number one priority above your marriage is your SANITY! People like this are literally crazy making because they have zero emotional intelligence or empathy. I would start this marriage as you mean to go on and make it clear to your husband that you will not be belittled in your own home. Your home is YOUR sanctuary not MILs. You get to set the tone and atmosphere with your husband - MIL should have no say.
I put my foot down and MIL now stays in a hotel when she comes, I also never stay in a house she is in - we also stay in a hotel when we visit her. Your DH and his mum are in a toxic dance and you will be the third wheel feeling like you are losing your mind if you don't put physical boundaries around your marriage. This should be in discussion with DH but if he doesn't agree you should still protect yourself and DS. Don't compromise on stuff that makes you absolutely miserable.
If you and DH are perfectly happy and peaceful when she is not around it is very clear that when she is around she produces a toxic cloud of FOG. I would recommend a website called Out Of The FOG which is for people relating to personalities such as these.
Please remember you are a threat in her eyes to her emeshment with her son. She is not going to care about you, your wants and needs. So make sure you start putting in place NOW all the means to prevent her hurting you and manipulating you. She may still manipulate your DH but you can refuse to cooperate with anything you find toxic to your mental health or your marriage.
Hang in there! You can do it.
FrancisdeSales Thanks soo much reply, everything you saind above is identical in our situation, for dh it is very normal giving her all the details of our lives even our intimate details, each time i bring this up he just says its cultural differences, French are very open minded so and so forth. we are normally very happy with each other rarely have any differences, but as soon as we talk about her it just gets very negative i hate to even talk about her, it has become so bad. I will look up the website you recommended.
I think I remember your other thread - were you the poster whose MiL and FiL want to come for a weekend each every month or something like that?
It must be really hard for you. My MiL is annoying but at least I don't have to have her stay for long periods of time. 4 days is the max at any one time. I think you'll probably end up being the bitch in her eyes, but you're going to have to in order to keep your own sanity.
This is nothing to do with culture it is emotional incest. His mum has not allowed him to have the normal psychic boundaries between individuals. She sees his independence as a threat to her. In my MILs case my counselor thinks she is probably Borderline - Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) also know as Emotionally Instability Disorder. No need to label but reading the traits was amazing to me and helped me understand her behaviour better. People suffering with BPD are terrified of perceived abandonment and have very unstable personal relationships and volatile emotional reactions. They tend to cling to people they see as rescuers. There may be some narcissistic traits thrown in but mostly they are motivated by insecurity and fear.
Now I see where she is coming from it has helped me but at the same time I recognize how destructive her behaviour can be to me personally and our marriage so my first priority is defensive and protection of the sanity and peace of myself, our marriage and our kids.
She will do her upmost to try and be the emotional focus of your husband and your marriage so you need to be aware. Your husband has been raised to be her confidant and rescuer.
Forewarned is forearmed!
Its a tough one! It will take time for your husband to see how destructive his mum's behaviour is. Chances r she parenticised him as her own husband wasn't around. Checkout lighthouse.org has some useful info - this was passed to me when I posted about my own nasty MIL.
The other thing is at least she helps so u know if u ever in trouble or give birth again or kids r sick, you can get help.
Question is how to manage her?
How big is your house? How many spare rooms do u have? Can u turn one into a play room and another into a walk in wardrobe so u literally have no guest bedrooms?
Is it worth making a list of everything she has done to upset u and emailing it to ur husband? Or even sit down and discuss it with MIL again?(I had a chat with my own mil and it was so not worth it but some people might take note and change their behaviour)
How long does she usually stay for?
It's his mum. Why should he stop being close to her and why should he stop communicating with her?
MsGus noone is saying he should not be close to her or not communicate with her but not at the expense of the wellbeing of his marriage. Some parents do not have healthy boundaries and interfere in their grown children's lives in ways that are not appropriate.
It works both ways. There is currently a thread in relationships about a father who is trying to meet up with his grown daughter and grandson and cut out the son-in-law. His daughter is telling him she is married now and he can't exclude her spouse but he doesn't want to accept that.
The son doesn't seem to have any problem with his mum. Should the wife have the overriding say in whether or not her husband's relationship with his mother is at the expense of the marriage? The feelings of the wife and the husband are equally important and no one should impose their views/feeling on the other. Should I tomorrow get annoyed with my husband's mother, does that give me the right to demand he cut his mother off? This is his mother.
I can't see there being a harmonious marriage if someone is forced to cut their family off if they don't want to. If he genuinely wanted to then fine but forcing him to cannot only lead to deep seated resentment that will one day come out in an ugly way.
OP you do not have to have a relationship with your mother-in-law and you can be assertive towards her about your needs. Let your husband have his freedom to determine his relationship with his mother. It's far too controlling to force someone to follow your orders as to whether or not they should have a relationship with their mother, no matter how you feel about her. He is not your property.
I didn't get the impression that the OP was trying to regulate her husband, quite the opposite - her MIL came to visit and felt she could dominate this young couple but especially her DIL. You seem to be very affronted for and protective of the MIL, but what about her behaviour that is having a negative effect on her son's marriage? Is she not a responsible grown up who should be held accountable for her behaviour? Her son should be putting his wife first, that is normal and healthy.
I'm not a MIL and I an not protecting the MIL in this case. Objectively she be as horrible as the OP states. What I believe is that when a husband, as far as he is concerned, has no problems with his mother, his partner should not impose her views about his mother on him.
I see no reason why a person must be force to choose their family over a wife or husband if they have no problems with their family. Why must it be seen as a battle to be chosen as 'the one who comes first'?
The only win-win solution is for the OP to be assertive and firm. Establish her own boundaries with the MIL. Controlling the husband's relationship with his mother is unacceptable.
Putting a wife first does not mean giving in to any and every demand no matter how unreasonable. Why should a wife be able to demand anything and say, do as I ask because you must put me first? Does ghe say rile apply if it was the husband? Would he be able to impose himself and say, do as I ask because I come first?
Alpies you made some interesting suggestions about the house, we have a 2 bed our ds is in our room for now and the other room is used as a guest room for now, i was thinking of bringing this up as an excuse to see less of her. i think i might have a frank discussion with dh about everything that has really upset me so far regarding MIL may be that will help, i dont feel having a discussion with her will be helful she gets very defensive and starts crying at every little thing, which makes me feel like i am a monster or something.
FrancisdeSales i never thought about personality disorders before i dont know if that could be another reason behind her behaviour, she is very socially awkward though does a lot of wierd things though.
MsGus I think you make a very valid point, at no point of my relationship so far i have expected my dh to stop contact with MIL or anything remotely close to it. His relation with MIL is his business and i dont interfere with that i would just like privacy in my relationship with my dh which i do not get as MIL keeps demanding all the details, i think thats unfair, unnecessary and controlling.
Hi OP, in that case, I think all you can do is not give her the details. She is free to ask whatever she wants and you in turn can either say no or acquiesce. The ball is entirely in your court. Just because she asks does not mean you must respond or give in.
I would be careful about diagnosing your MIL with a personality disorder. She has raised a son who clearly has turned out well enough that you are quite happy to have a relationship with him. I assume she functions well in society for the most part? Has he ever said his mother has a personality problem?
We all have our own weirdness. At the end of the day, you don't like you MIL. You don't have to like her. Likewise she does not have to like you. That's life. We meet many people we are forced to share our lives with who we would rather see the back of. However, we have to be wise and tolerant. Form boundaries and soldier on.
MsGus its not upto me to not give her details, its dh who does that and he does not understand that i dont like to share all the intimate details he just puts it on the cultural differences, but i feel its their relationship. I do not have any expertise to diagnose her with a personality disorder but i guess we can never rule out, in reality she does function very well socially, she lives a very isolated life has almost no friends and almost no social contact, its almost fair to say that she lives through my dh. dh does admit that she has a very difficult personality and is very difficult to live with.
At the end of the day, you have to protect urself and ur baby. This is your home. U r currently making huge sacrifices for ur baby. Ur mental stability is more important than anything.
Where do u go from here? If the visit is booked there's not much u can do. Manage it. Make sure ur husband is here and doesn't go abroad on work trips. Insist on it.
I really sympathise because I am from an Asian background (altho i wasnt born in Asia) and my husband is half Italian and half Chinese (Mil is Chinese and a bloody nightmare with no boundaries!)
What is ur situation? R u financially independent? Sorry for asking perso questions but I do find that that can give u leverage.
I have gone thru 2 tough years with Mil and at the start of 2016, I basically sent my husband an email (because I can't be bothered with arguments) and listed all the things that pisses me off and what I would be willing to put up with. From now on his parents can only visit when he is here as Mil is such a nice person when husband is around. Well nice as in she behaves herself and she still pisses me off and he is starting to see it so much so he doesn't invite her over anymore when he is not here. After every visit, I make sure to tell him what she has said or done that is not acceptable. I don't think its my place to manage his mum, it's his. IF she comes to my home she has to talk to me with respect and respect my family and my rules and my routines or I will pack my kids in my car and fuck off.
Strangely enough, that has done the trick.
The other thing I wanted to ask u is have u considered inviting ur parents over? My parents live in a country that req them to have a visa but with an invite letter they have visited about 4 times for months at a time. I'm not sure what ur husband's relationship is like with ur parents but maybe he will see how hard it is ton live with someone under ur roof for more than one night and maybe think a bit more. No matter how 'helpful' someone is, having visitors when u already have your handful and dealing with a new baby is hard work and no one needs the bloody headache of anybody who drains ur energy.
The rule for grans is help out but zip the lip when it comes to dishing out advice. Respect your adult offsprings' privacy and right to make their own decisions. And I speak as a gran 7x over - so I have had plenty of practice.
This MIL is quite nuts - see her as little as you can get away with and be prepared to stand your ground.
I would be careful about diagnosing your MIL with a personality disorder. She has raised a son who clearly has turned out well enough that you are quite happy to have a relationship with him
... You don't have a lot of experience in this area then I take it?
People whose parents have personality disorders can and do form relationships.
Stop denying the OP's experience because it's got the word "MIL" in there.
Alpies I have told my dh i dont want to be alone with MIL even for a minute which he has agreed to and has also agreed to discuss things MIL. I am not working at the moment but i really want to get back to work i have noticed things have deteriorated since i stopped working. My parents have not visited us not even once they live abroad and need a visa to visit us so they are not very keen on visiting us. my dh has almost no relation with them hardly ever talks to them, he hasnt made any real efforts, i think thats one of the reasons why it hurts me soo much because i priortize him and our little family over everything and he keeps priortinzing his parents. But to be honest if i start behaving the way he does with his family our relationship will suffer a lot, i dont think there is room for both our families to fit into our lives, his parents are too involved and interfering there is no room for my parents.
Do u have any friends around in London? ( u r in London right?)
Is it worth u arranging things with friends when she is around to give u a bit of a break from her?
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