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The dreaded MIL cliche

(23 Posts)
RustyPaperclip Tue 27-Sep-16 21:22:49

I am exhausted, I have done everything I can to have a good relationship with my MIL but I feel constantly belittled and fed up of treading on eggshells. I have been with DH over a decade but my MIL has constantly judged me and nothing I can do is good enough.

We have done all we can to support her but she is in a massive amount of debt. She never makes any effort with us unless she wants money. We try to help but we have own own financial commitments. DH was unemployed for nearly three months and I was the only wage earner. We are just starting to get even but she has taken no interest in our struggles, just constantly wanting more and more money.

Unfortunately she also has a habit of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time and making every problem about her. I try my hardest to recognise that everybody has struggles and problems but she shows little regard for how her son (my DH) feels. If she hurts someone and they get angry or upset, she claims that they are treating her unfairly. She never takes responsibility for her actions.

She invited herself to visit recently and she knew that I had a long arranged work engagement which I couldn't alter. She kicked up such a fuss that I felt uncomfortable in my own home. The next day she burst in to tears and stormed out. I was I credibly hurt that she accused me of making her uncomfortable on purpose.

I have also recently found out that she used to beat her sons when they were young. I wonder if this has clouded my view of her and I want to push her away because I cannot imagine using a kitchen implement to hurt any children we may have. What worries me the most is that when I try and talk to DH about it he laughs, he doesn't seem to realise how wrong it is.

It all feels like such a bloody cliche. I wanted a relationship with my MIL but it's so hard and upsetting. I wish she appreciated how fantastic her son is rather than make him feel unloved

I'm not sure what I am looking for from this post, mainly a chance to rant, but any advice would be lovely. Please don't be too harsh, I feel bad enough already

AnneLovesGilbert Tue 27-Sep-16 21:33:01

It sounds grim and I feel for you. I'm sure other people will be along but my best advice is to read Toxic Inlaws as soon as possible. It'll show you that you're not mad at all unreasonable to find the situation untenable and might give you some strategies to protect yourself and your marriage.

RustyPaperclip Tue 27-Sep-16 21:39:15

Thank you for your advice, I wasn't aware of Toxic Inlaws. I've spent so long trying to keep everything calm and being made to feel that I am the one in the wrong. I hope one day we can repair everything but it feels at breaking point and I feel for my DH as he is clearly stuck in the middle. I truly don't want him to ruin his relationship with his mum but I feel I need my distance now. I just don't know how that will work realistically

AnneLovesGilbert Tue 27-Sep-16 22:11:45

You need to look after yourself. Of course you worry about your husband but you and he each have needs and a right to do what feels okay for you. If a situation like this is making you unhappy and nothing you've done before has been able to change it (why would it, your DH and his mother have been in their dynamic all his life) then try a different approach.

Read the book. My inlaws are a completely different kettle of fish to your MIL but she covers all of the possible dynamics. I'm sorry I can't remember her full name but it's Susan something and you'll find the book on Amazon.

RustyPaperclip Tue 27-Sep-16 22:14:54

Thanks you again, I've downloaded the kindle version. Her reaction now seems to be to act as if I don't exist. After so many years it is incredibly sad

RustyPaperclip Wed 28-Sep-16 19:19:15

MIL has now decided I clearly don't exist confused she has now invited DH to stay for a weekend for her birthday. No mention of me. I guess that's it then sadly

allsfairinlove Wed 28-Sep-16 20:00:09

flowers for you Rusty. It must be horribly draining and upsetting trying to maintain positive relations with such an unreasonable person.

Does your DH acknowledge his DM's bad behaviour at all?

Yes, it must be hard for him to be in the middle but so is it for you to be rejected so vehemently by your mil.

RustyPaperclip Wed 28-Sep-16 20:12:14

Oh yes he acknowledges her behaviour and it upsets him greatly that she shows so little regard for him and only contacts him when she wants something. However I suspect he has become too accustomed to her behaviour which is sad. She has told her youngest son that he has to move out by Christmas. I'm very close to my parents, they do everything they can to help me and vice versa. Perhaps I have just been lucky rather than it being the norm

allsfairinlove Wed 28-Sep-16 20:16:24

Will he go to her birthday weekend? Because if he does it will only give the message that it's ok for her to be this way.

Honestly, I think you and your DH need to present a united front here. It's difficult I know. But if you acquiesce, it will never stop.

RustyPaperclip Wed 28-Sep-16 20:16:36

At least I am lucky that I have a FIL that I adore, and despite his occasional faults, we have a really good relationship and I very much enjoy having him to stay. Unfortunately this annoys MIL. She seems to have a chip on her shoulder thinking that we are always seeing my parents and FIL and ignoring her. I have tried saying that you get from a relationship what you put in

RustyPaperclip Wed 28-Sep-16 20:17:52

He wants to and I can't blame him for that, she is his mother. However I am worried that it will cause problems going forward

allsfairinlove Wed 28-Sep-16 20:19:46

What do you think would happen if you went anyway?

RustyPaperclip Wed 28-Sep-16 20:22:23

Hmm well I believe that she has made it clear that I am not invited, plus I am not a confrontational person at all. It took a lot for me to tell her how much she upset me when she came to stay and constantly criticised me

RustyPaperclip Wed 28-Sep-16 20:24:12

Plus I don't really want to spend time with someone who is constantly judging me for not being up to her standards

Pickled0nions Wed 28-Sep-16 21:01:08

Hello Rusty.
I read your story and I couldn't leave without replying.

My MIL is EXACTLY the same as yours. Everything you have described, the dramatic behavior to something she doesn't like. Inviting herself around when plans are already made and she knows it.
The excluding from her family and making you feel unwelcome, the constant judging as if you're not meeting her standards. Sly comments, snidey remarks.

Do you have children?

I have one daughter. She thinks my daughter is an extension of her, constantly says things about my daughter that she MUST have gotten from her side of the family only.

The times when my MIL got dramatic:
- Told her we had booked getting married (we had been engaged for 5 years) she acted sweetly towards me then went home and screamed at DH over skype and forced herself an invite by bullying and manipulating him through crying.
- Told her we were pregnant. She said ''well cant you get rid of it!'' when her DH told her no, it's her body. She downed a bottle of whiskey and walked out the house nowhere to be found for a good 20 minutes.
- we moved into our first house. She screamed at DH for hours, made him a scapegoat. Then the day the van came to pack his things, spent it in her room sobbing to herself.
- DH ended up in hospital for asthma, something she would never go and get him diagnosed for as a child. She spent the entire time in hospital facing the opposite way to me in her chair.
- The most recent incident was I cancelled a Saturday arrangement (after she had cancelled 3 for very trivial reasons) she went barmey. Basically as it stands now, she has not seen her granddaughter for around 4 months. And when I offered for her to come round to see her about 1 month ago the answer was ''Then follow her wishes and allow her to come to mine for tea or when DH is back home she can see me then'' I said no of course, that they were her wishes and not my daughters. (my DH works away)

The reason I said no is because like your DH, my DH was also hit with kitchen utensils as a child which he also jokes about and doesn't think it's serious, she also hit him with slippers.

There are other bits like her cutting me out of pictures with my newborn but very carefully making sure it was just my daughter and her son in the picture. She likes to make sure that all communications are through my DH and never through me, because basically I will tell her no.

Now here's the hard part you have to accept. You will never meet her standards and you will never have a normal relationship with her. Why? Because she is narcissistic. This is a personality disorder, these types of people never change. They think there is nothing wrong with them.
They are abusive and manipulative. Controlling and bullying.
You cannot do right. Ever.

The best thing I ever did was allow my DH to see her behaviour, with a lot of explaining to him and showing him articles that explain this disorder he realized.. The last bit of the jigsaw.

She has now told him goodbye through text hasn't spoken to him since, deleted him off Skype all because he said he wouldn't be coming over and would like her to come to ours.
At first it's hard, but now.... My life is so much happier. I feel free.
Please take the first steps into going no contact you are doing yourself a favour and its time to put your well being first. Good luck.

RustyPaperclip Wed 28-Sep-16 21:14:50

PickledOnions thank your for your post and I'm so sorry for what you have gone through.

No we don't have children yet, but she is constantly guilt tripping me into having children and making me feel like it is my obligation to provide her with grandchildren. I have told DH that when the time comes, I will not prevent her having a relationship with our children but I would never allow her to take care of them on her own. My parents never hit me and although I know she struggled as a single mother, I can't accept that as an excuse for her children plotting together as little kids to steal the kitchen implement and bury it in the garden.

I've always felt sorry for her because FIL had an affair and left the children when they were young. That is inexcusable but recently he broke down in tears telling me how bad their relationship was. I'm still not excusing his behaviour but I don't think he knew half of what was going on.

But surely I can't tell DH that he shouldn't go and visit her? Won't he hate me for causing a wedge with his mother?

RustyPaperclip Wed 28-Sep-16 21:16:57

I'm also aware that my mum went through hell for about 30 years with PILs who treated her so badly. I don't want to go through all the pain she did, constantly making an effort and every time she felt the tiniest bit of acceptance, she would be knocked back again

allsfairinlove Wed 28-Sep-16 21:25:11

Sorry Rusty had to go and get dinner out of the oven.

Completely sympathise with your situation as my DP and I are in a similar stand off with his PILs. He goes on his own and I'm completely fine about that as I don't want to get in between him and his family, as you say. But it's not easy.

I have to go and eat now but will come back to the thread. flowers

Pickled0nions Wed 28-Sep-16 21:26:43

The problem you have, is if you have children, your children will become brainwashed by her.
Her toxic behavior will brush off onto your children, so supervised or no contact is best with these types of people.

You need to allow your DH to see her behavior, and show him some articles on covert narcissism. Do this only once, do not keep reiterating what she is to him.
Then tell him firmly, your plan of action is to go no contact, if he wishes to remain in contact with her then that's his choice. Make sure you are 100% and do not be swayed into visiting her or having contact with her, you need to focus on you now.

You are not giving him an ultimatum, you are telling him that your choice is no contact and it's up to him if he wants to follow. In the end, your DH should stick by you as ultimately if he doesn't, this is where marriages fail.

RustyPaperclip Wed 28-Sep-16 21:27:32

Thank you allsfair. Best of luck with your situation flowers

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 28-Sep-16 21:36:47

"I have told DH that when the time comes, I will not prevent her having a relationship with our children but I would never allow her to take care of them on her own".

No. Your children will wonder why their nan disrespects you as their mother so much. If she cannot respect you as a person then she is not going to be a decent grandmother sort of person to any children you go onto have and drip poison into their ears about you. Toxic people as well never apologise nor accept any responsibility for their actions either.

Women like his mother cannot do relationships so the men in their lives are often long gone (as is the case here) or as narcissistic as they are. It is not possible to have a relationship with such a person and narcissistic people as well make for being deplorably bad grandparent figures.

If he wants to maintain a relationship with his mother that is up to him but it does not at all follow that you meekly have to do this as well. His boundaries re his mother are pretty much non existant; she has really trained him to serve her needs.

She was not a good parent to your DH, what makes you at all think she could be a good grandparent to any children?

Your DH is in a FOG (fear, obligation, guilt) state when it comes to his mother and his own inertia simply hurts him as well as you.

You have tried more than enough to gain the approval of someone who will never give it. Its not you, its her so this relationship is not repairable anyway. She would have acted the same regardless of whom your DH got together with.

Do read the toxic inlaws book previously recommended by AnneLovesGilbert.

Pickled0nions Wed 28-Sep-16 22:01:08

Attila is correct and has given you some good advice.

I do hope you come away from this considering your options and seriously consider no contact.

It's very difficult to begin with, as Attila says these types of people put you into a FOG. It's hard to break out of that routine, it takes time, eventually it's like seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, you will see how very toxic it was and know you made the right choice to stop contact.

I do hope your DH considers his options too, he may be normalised to her behaviour and he needs to see for himself and accept that it's not normal, this takes time.

My DH is 4/5 months in to no contact and he still struggles. But it's more anger and resentment now rather than guilt and obligation.

RustyPaperclip Wed 28-Sep-16 22:12:38

I've started reading the book. So far it seems very accurate.

Attila, thank you, I hadn't appreciated that point of view when (hopefully) we have children. That is certainly another point to think about and certainly chimes with the decades of bad treatment my mum experienced with her PIL

I think I am ready to give NC a try, although I wish it hadn't come to this. DH had a long day at work today so it wasn't the right time to broach the subject. However is he is aware how I feel and I truly think he has just got used to this behaviour. I guess it is all he has really known.

I'm very much the person who is willing to take the blame rather than accuse others. This is pretty much the first time I have put my foot down properly

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