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MIL (I know, I know ...) and constant undermining of DP and me.

(4 Posts)
CamelsAndStraws Sun 01-Jan-17 23:39:49

MIL is usually very kindly and welcoming to me as DP's partner. But I know that she finds me, and increasingly also my DP, difficult to relate to. My hunch is that she is a bit defensive or uneasy because we earn much more than most of DP's family (we don't earn a huge amount at all) and don't have the priorities she would expect (we don't want to move very close to her; I like my job and want to work at it; we might well move house several times as my job moves around). She can be very kind, but can also come out with very overt racism, which she seems to see as a joke, even when you make it clear it's not funny.

DP reasons that she's in a lot of pain (she isn't well). Sometimes what she says is reasonable but insensitive to the point of sounding quite goady. Other times it is hard not to think she's deliberately trying to get a reaction, like when she tells us DP wouldn't need folic acid tablets during pregnancy if she had a healthy diet, or when she tells us she plans to rub whiskey on the baby's gums when it's teething. I really can't judge how much she is serious (or how much she genuinely doesn't understand/take in). She's had a very sheltered life in some ways - she's never had her own bank card; she doesn't travel; she is quite isolated from people other than family. Her children tend to treat her as not really able to manage adult life, which is probably fair.

Since DP got pregnant, she has constantly asked, hinted, and hinted again about how much contact she expects. She almost always phrases things in a joking way, but clearly isn't joking. She's mentioned being at the birth several times, has mentioned staying with us in our spare room, or acting as a live-in nanny, and she expects the baby to stay overnight with her from early on. Recently, when she was telling us that most women have their mothers as birth partners, DP said she felt that was usually the case with women whose actual partners couldn't or wouldn't be there, and said very firmly she wanted me there. And I do feel as if her mum is pushing this sort of issue partly to push me out, though I'm not sure.

Much of this we just brush off, and it doesn't look as if her health will let her have a baby overnight anyway, but it's bothering me how much she just keeps repeating the same things. I know it sounds trivial and it is, but I also know I will feel better for getting some perspective here.

Cherrysoup Sun 01-Jan-17 23:44:34

I think an honest chat with her would be appropriate. She sounds very excited to be granny, but she needs to take a step back and let you two parent.

CamelsAndStraws Sun 01-Jan-17 23:50:45

How, though?

I genuinely cannot tell if she actually has the capacity to take in what we've said to her (and what her other DD has said to her) before. She seems not to understand. And it is genuinely possible she doesn't have the capacity, because she is quite limited.

I don't know whether it's better to believe she is muddling along in a fog of incomprehension and accidentally upsetting us, or whether she understands all too well, and is doing it maliciously while pretending to be nice. And I find both quite hard to believe.

BurningBridges Mon 02-Jan-17 00:19:35

It sounds as though all of those might be possible - she doesn't understand, she is being mean and any where in-between the two. However, your joint response should be the same, rinse and repeat just keep on saying no that's not what we want over and over again, and stick to it.

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