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Time to go NC?(11 Posts)
I have a history of weirdness from my in laws. Essentially, the family dynamic is this: MIL is a very powerful, influential matriarch who uses that power to isolate, alienate and bully me. It's all very sneaky and underhand though. Nothing is ever obvious - it's all passive aggressive and highly manipulative.
I've tried my hardest to get along with them all, and although I have a fairly good relationship with some of DH's family, there is this underlying tension which isn't going away.
An incident occurred recently which feels like the final straw. I don't want to give details because it might out me, but it involved the usual PA tactics MIL likes to use.
I'm now wondering how to handle this? Should I address this latest incident with MIL directly? Or let DH handle it? Or is it not that big a deal? I realised, after it happened, that I am so used to this kind of treatment, that when the latest 'insult' took place I didn't really think much of it (until I saw the look on DH's face when I told him and realised no, actually, it's far from ok). And that concerns me above everything else - that I am losing the ability to judge the situation objectively.
DH has tried to sort this in the past (she was especially bad after our DD was born). He confronted her, but MIL twisted the conversation round and told the rest of his family something that simply wasn't said (she used it as an opportunity to humiliate me). Although things appeared to improve afterwards, I don't think they did, i think she just hid her intentions better from DH. She's always delightful in his company, and with our DD. It's mostly when others aren't there, and it's just the two of us, that the knives come out.
Can anyone please advise on how to resolve this latest issue? Just let DH deal with it? I am feeling really worn down by it all, and keep thinking it might be best to just accept I will never have a good relationship with this woman and the rest of her family as a result of how she behaves. But that would mean cutting myself off from the entire family. Although it feels like a toxic dynamic, I'm not sure if I'd feel worse if I went NC, effectively alienating myself further? Any advice would be great.
Thank you for reading x
Is anyone there? Could really do with some advice.
Passive aggressive and highly manipulative are absolutely exhausting and very unpleasant to be around.
If you were to discuss the latest incident with her, how do you think it would go? Would she actually be able to hear you, to take on board what you say and to reflect on her behaviour? It doesn't sound like it from what you say. If you think the answer is no, then don't attempt to discuss it with her - you will be just handing her a load of ammunition to use against you.
DH should certainly be stepping in and sticking up for you. As for how you handle the relationship going forward, there are other options apart from NC. I am in touch with my parents but I rarely see them and tell them absolutely nothing about my life (they are similar to your MIL). How little could you get away with seeing MIL? You could keep her at arms length and do a bit of smile and nod when you see her, stick to talking about telly and the weather and that sort of stuff. Do you think that would work?
Would you want to have anything to do with these people anyway on DHs side of the family if they are so easily manipulated by his mother?. None of them have wanted to actually listen to your side of things have they. This is precisely what narcissist people like his mother do; they triangulate and use family members as flying monkeys to do her dirty work for her.
I would also keep your DD well away from her grandmother; she was also not a good parent to her DH and she is not being a decent sort of grandmotherly figure now. If your DD keeps on seeing you as her own mother be so disrespected by her nan this will be damaging for her to witness as well. Do not at the very least see her now without your DH being present. Self preservation is needed here.
DH needs to be stepping up again here and tackle his mother again. His primary loyalty after all is to you now, not her. Not doing so just rewards bad behaviour. He ultimately may well want to maintain a relationship with his mother, equally he may not.
I would also suggest you read "Toxic Inlaws" written by Susan Forward.
Thank you both for your replies.
I think going almost NC could work. We don't see them that much anyway so wouldn't make a huge difference, although I imagine I would be viewed in an even worse light if I snubbed event after event. In which case going NC seems easier.
DH thinks he has the perfect family. He says he had the perfect childhood, which is what prevents me from assuming his mother is a narcissist. Otherwise she completely fits the bill.
They all think she's wonderful, too. People only ever have the nicest things to say about her, but how can this be, when she's so deliberately malicious? And she 100% uses the others to do her dirty work for her. Been there got the t-shirt.
I do want to go NC. I'm just worried it's too extreme a step, and will hurt DH.
Hmmm. What does 'the perfect family' look like? What is a 'perfect childhood'? People like your MIL often leave their children with a legacy of FOG - fear, obligation, guilt. This does not magically disappear when you reach adulthood. You get very well trained to consider the abusive parent's needs above your own, at all times. DH may have been indoctrinated early in the belief that his mother was 'perfect' and could never be questioned.
However, how can he still claim to think this when you say that you say he has looked horrified at the things she has said to you?
Have you spoken to DH about you not being in touch with his family any more?
Honestly, this is where I'm so confused. She is a doting grandmother and really good with DD, although she has never had unsupervised contact due to the distance between us all.
DH genuinely was very, very happy as a child. She gets on really well with everyone else in the family. But the insults/put-downs/mind games over the years have been so weird. And I think she does manipulate the others, although perhaps I'm wrong there? It's so hard to know, for sure.
DH supports me, but obviously doesn't want me to go NC.
Does she feel that people within the family are perfect, but people who are not flesh and blood family members (like you) are some kind of threat? Either way, her behaviour is very strange and I'm not surprised you're uncomfortable around her
I genuinely don't understand how one party to a relationship can go NC with a PiL while the other stays in contact ?
If MrsLH and I had tried that, MiL would have just worn MrsLH down with slurs, accusations and "things she knows".
Lottapianos - not at all, although she can be very critical/judgemental of others.
LurkingHusband - I don't think MIL would behave in that way. But I see what you mean.
personally I'd let DH handle it and make it plain to him you will only be around MIL if he sticks to you like glue so she can't do anything like that without hm being a witness to it, that means not even going to the toilet!
Don't answer the phone to her, if she asks you to make plans or agree yo anything then be non-commital.
If that doesn't work then go no contact.
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