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controlling mother in law. what to do.

(39 Posts)
IreallyKNOWiamright Sun 14-Aug-16 14:37:05

Despite my dh having a brother. My Mil treats my dh like he is the only child. She even moved when we had to relocate because she didn't like the thought of not controlling us.
Most of the time I let it go over my head. However recently she came on a shopping trip with me and started to tell me not to spend anymore money on clothes. This really pissed me off and I told her I was going to buy what I liked with my money and it was not her business to control my finance.
They are very helpful regarding child care but today in church she was really angry because we sat away from them. After the service she came straight up to us and doesn't give us a chance to talk with people or make our own friends. What shocked me today though is as well as her angry manner she got in my dh's face whilst he was sitting down still having some time of reflection getting in his face and having a go at him because we haven't been in touch regarding her having our daughter next week.
I said I had said to my dh to phone her and can't she see he is still reflecting on the service and to speak to him later. She then got angry with me saying that we never spend time with them or contact them but that's not true at all. She is starting to notice I've backed off after being told what to do and doesn't like not being in control. How can I deal with this. I've tried so hard over the years to bite my tongue but it's come to a point now I do feel like telling them to piss off and let us lead our own lives. 😣

BeingATwatItsABingThing Sun 14-Aug-16 14:41:24

It's a hard one. I'm not in the same position but my DM has a habit of trying to run my life and get involved with my relationship with DP. It infuriates me but whenever I try to bring it up, she just says that I don't mind when they get involved with childcare. angry Not the same thing!

I can't offer any advice on how to get her to back off but I can offer a sympathetic, listening ear if you need a rant.

Joysmum Sun 14-Aug-16 14:58:54

There's a lot about your feelings g regarding your MIL's behaviour, but does your DH see an issue?

happypoobum Sun 14-Aug-16 15:03:31

I would distance myself to be honest, things like shopping trips with her can be cut out surely?

Let DH handle her - I used to let the phone go to voicemail if XH wasn't home and ILS called. Be civil and friendly when you do see them but don't arrange anything yourself.

It's really up to DH to tell her off if she is getting in his face.The way you describe it he has two women practically fighting over him and he appears to be passive.

IreallyKNOWiamright Sun 14-Aug-16 15:12:43

Thank you. Yes. I've puts lots of boundaries in before but then fall for the do you need any help etc etc.
My dh is a introvert so any kind of episode like today he finds hard to deal with. I let him deal with her most of the time but he can also be quite selfish and not phone them to see how they are or go and see them because he knows like me then she'll start getting controlling.
I don't fight for his attention I just felt today she was rude she didn't even sit next to him or ask how he was just bent over and got in his face.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sun 14-Aug-16 15:13:45

What sort of relationship does your DH have with his mother now; he is key here.

Your only mistake has been to occasionally let her behaviours go over your head over the years; controlling behaviour like this is abusive behaviour and stems from wanting power and control. She is not going to let go at all easily; your H and you are going to have to completely detach from her.

Presumably your DH has had a lifetime of this and perhaps to some extent regards her behaviour as "normal". Also he is likely to be in a fear, obligation and guilt state with regards to her and cannot or equally will not assert himself here. After all she has never encouraged him to really be his own person. His own inertia is really hurting him as well as his own family unit now.

I would also find alternative childcare; his mother should not have access to your child (your most precious of resources) at all. She will end up controlling your DD in not too dissimilar ways as to how he, and to some extent you, are controlled now.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sun 14-Aug-16 15:17:30

Thank you. Yes. I've puts lots of boundaries in before but then fall for the do you need any help etc etc.

You cannot keep on falling for that old shtick any more; you do not need people like his mother at all in your lives. Also your boundaries need further raising; they are still too low and she is taking advantage of your own inherent niceness.

It is not your fault, or your Hs for that matter, that she is like this; neither of you made her that way. Her own family of origin did that lot of damage to her. Her parents were likely to have been abusive also.

happypoobum Sun 14-Aug-16 15:46:32

I agree with Atilla

DH is doing the right thing when he tries to distance himself from her, doesn't contact her etc. Do you mean that when he does this you feel honour bound to jump in and call her because he is being "rude" or something?

If so, you need to stop. Tell yourself the only contact you will have with her is when it suits both of you. That may mean there is less and less contact and she will quite likely go nuclear, but you have to rise above it and just ignore it all as much as you can.

IreallyKNOWiamright Sun 14-Aug-16 15:58:37

Yes she gets upset that she hasn't heard from us and I feel guilty then arrange something to do with them. What you all say is very wise and true I have been nice for too long and we need to distance ourselves even more.
I feel like saying she can't have my dd now next week. First she wanted her the Friday before we were going away and then had a stomping tantrum this morning saying that she wanted her Wednesday instead. She didn't even ask if I was busy or had plans.
Once she got me a book for my birthday called 'how to be a better person'. I will never forget that. Bloody cheek of it.

Joysmum Sun 14-Aug-16 16:09:32

You see you stepping in as being nice because you are feeling guilty, in effect you are actually overriding your dh's wishes on his contact with her.

Personally I'd step back and let him do all the contact. If she contacts you then you can refer her to him. If she makes demands about set days then say you already have plans.

NapQueen Sun 14-Aug-16 17:07:32

How much childcare does she help you out with?

If she is minding dcs frequently in order to help out with costs of childcare then sees you shopping it could be an indicator that she feels you maybe can afford more than she has been led to believe.

IreallyKNOWiamright Sun 14-Aug-16 18:13:38

No she wasn't helping due to childcare costs. She just offered. She also controls her mother's finances so seems to have a thing about controlling people and finance. It actually makes me really angry the way she goes to draw out her mum's pension. Her mum is quite capable. However I don't work anymore, she is only offering to have dd at her leisure becsuse she wants to do things with my dd.but I am seriously thinking of saying no this week now. Will have to talk to dh after dinner about it. But you are all right. I need to put in even more boundaries and let him deal with her.

pallasathena Sun 14-Aug-16 18:28:39

Controlling people like your MIL are usually hugely invested in other people's lives and when you pull away, they panic. To lose control, any control, is somehow outrageous to them and must be stopped. In their minds, they have a rigid set of rules which must be adhered to and when they're not, the red mist descends, which is what you experienced in church.
They're oddly not aware of any of this. They can't self reflect or even see the humour in being so bothered by their control issues. Its you, not them and this fantasy has to be maintained because if it wasn't, their self esteem, their sense of self would be dangerously (for them) shattered.
As others have said, you need to re-draw the rules of engagement. Set up boundaries, spell out what is acceptable and what isn't. I'd go deliberately low contact for a while to get the space and time you need to put all that into place. You may find, as I did in a very similar situation, that the peace I gained from going low contact was too precious to give up and I now screen all visits to make sure I only see these people two or three times a year at big family get togethers. This may not be practical for you I realise, but just redrawing those lines and putting in place some meaningful boundaries will involve you taking some of that power back and that has to be done for everyones sakes.

SickInBedOnTwoChairs Sun 14-Aug-16 19:02:09

Getting the book would have been the end for me!

Missgraeme Sun 14-Aug-16 19:05:17

Imo letting her do child care duties is giving her the impression she has the given right to add rules and regulations to all aspects of your life!

Blushingm Sun 14-Aug-16 19:19:43

My mil is very controlling - DH and I are now divorcing because she interferes and he thinks she can

IreallyKNOWiamright Sun 14-Aug-16 19:49:22

We were on holiday (unfortunately ) when she gave it to me. She got really upset and played victim because I stormed up stairs and was really angry.

Yes. I think I will refuse her to have dd this week. I just have to much to do. My dd doesn't like going either says she is really bossy and makes her eat everything even the last crumb despite my dd being full.
Sorry to hear about your relationship blushingm what did she do to get it to that stage. We have had issues ourselves but it's all recovering now however at the time I made the mistake of telling her and she told me it was all my fault and she didn't see her sons behaviour as abusive. As she used to behave like that. confusedThankfully he is talking to someone about his issues and things are improving alot.

RandomMess Sun 14-Aug-16 19:58:53

I also think you would benefit from moving churches if you can find a different one.

Relocating to be near you is extreme as is automatically going to the same church.

Assuming you are Christian I would start looking for a Christian book on marriage how "Leaving & cleaving" is biblical and it means that parents of the wedded need to butt out...

IreallyKNOWiamright Sun 14-Aug-16 20:48:52

Yes. I was so pissed off when they came to the same church. She has many times gone up my dh and started talking for him when he has been chatting to his friends. And ended their conversation. Unfortunately he doesn't want to move churches. I think he probably feels they would follow us again. It's a small town so she will eventually find out from someone if we didn't tell her.

RandomMess Sun 14-Aug-16 20:57:50

I think your DH is going to have to explore some other ways of dealing with her at church - "I'm just talking with x, I will call you later" every time.

Sounds like you and DH need to have a very frank discussion about what level of contact you have with the in-laws and how firm you are prepared to make the boundaries. Really tough.

I would also chat to your leader/pastor and ask for their help/suggestion/prayers - it will be invaluable for them to know the background in case she has a hissy fit over it and paints herself the victim. Very hard to share a church with someone who chooses to overlook how their faith should influence their behaviour.

I was serious about finding some teaching books - really more for you and DH to read and be confident that your expectation are "right" and "fair"

Blushingm Sun 14-Aug-16 21:13:21

DH allow d her to know everything about our lives, including our sex life and she felt it ok to bestow her opinions upon me! DH can't see he oversteps the mark and thinks it's normal to allow her quiz me and tell me what I should/shouldn't do what I should think/shouldn't think how I parent

I just couldn't cope anymore but it seems his mother is more important than his wife

RandomMess Mon 15-Aug-16 18:32:18

Blushing that is really sad all around tbh, completely understand why you need to get out.

SandyY2K Mon 15-Aug-16 18:59:09

Can you go to mass at a different time?

That's what I'd do on that one.

Once she got me a book for my birthday called 'how to be a better person'.

Well what a bloody cheek. I'd have wrapped it up and given it back to her for her birthday.

Or get one called 'How to be a good mother in law and not drive your children and grandchildren away or you'll be a lonely old woman'wink

Wolpertinger Mon 15-Aug-16 21:36:36

I think your DH wasn't selfish but sensible when he doesn't call her to see how she is or go round. He's known her far longer than you and doesn't feel in the least guilty about it - he knows that even if he went round every day, he'd still get it in the neck.

Follow his lead and stop feeling guilty. Whatever you do, it will be wrong so practice the ignoring a lot more.

And yes she may be useful with childcare but given your DD hates going there, find alternative childcare if at all possible.

Make sure she knows as little as possible about you and your plans and that DH is entirely responsible for communicating with her.

Go as low contact as you can go and maintain boundaries of steel.

SlightlyperturbedOwl Mon 15-Aug-16 21:41:10

I would definitely get a childminder and resolve that little control lever and then review how to take it from there. Sounds difficult flowers

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