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How to deal with a MIL who rarely says ‘THANK YOU’?

(63 Posts)
fizzy1234 Mon 12-Aug-19 16:15:15

I only started noticing that she rarely says thank you since the start of this year. For every 15 things I do for her on a weekly basis, I probably receive one ‘thank you’. Please don’t think I intentionally do things for other people only to receive gratitude for it or to make myself feel better about myself because that’s not the case at all. I am a naturally giving person and never want anything back apart from a simple ‘thank you’. I have known this woman for over 4 years and ever since, I have gone out of my way to please her, not because I felt I had to but because I wanted to! I will give you some scenarios that have happened within the past few days where she has not shown appreciation.
1)Cooked her a meal, served her and she just put the dish in the sink for me to wash
2)Brought her some of her shopping, again, did not say thank you nor offered to pay!
This happens on a weekly basis and I am really getting sick of it to the point that I’m starting to despise her. Almost every time we visit her (Me and my partner – her son), she moans about her hungry she is and hints that she wants me to get her something or cook for her! Foolishly, I do. She has plenty of food at the start of the week but eats it all by Wednesday! I’ve also started having arguments with my partner over this who thinks I’m being unreasonable. Of course I would be seen as the unreasonable one! The thing is, she says thank you to other people such as her sons, daughters, friends but me, nope! I don’t know if she’s too proud to say it or does it intentionally to annoy me now. I’ve known 2 year olds more thankful than her!
And if you want to know what she has done for me in the past? Not a lot apart from the odds gifts here and there. She’s the type of person that is only nice to you if you are only nice to her first. Obviously, with her being my MIL, I’m going to be nice to her regardless of how she is but just feel now that she’s taking the p*ss so unsure of whether I should carry on doing the things I have done for her on a regular basis.
It’s a difficult situation as it’s not like I can teach her manners or how to act! As the saying goes, ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’.

Please advise on what I should do?

Also, if I stop doing things for her, I don’t want there to be hostility between us.

Oldraver Mon 12-Aug-19 16:17:45

Then stop doing it for her and send your OH on his own to Mummy

Aussiebean Mon 12-Aug-19 16:17:46

You can do what I do with my dc. Hold the dinner out for them but not hand it over until I get a thank you.

Or make a point of saying ‘your welcome ‘

lottiegarbanzo Mon 12-Aug-19 16:19:51

Stop visiting so much, withdraw your labour and let her son look after her.

NabooThatsWho Mon 12-Aug-19 16:20:01

Why are you doing so much for her? How much does her son do?

PanamaPattie Mon 12-Aug-19 16:25:58

You don't have to be nice to her just because she's your MIL. Stop helping the ungrateful woman. There is already hostility between you so you will lose nothing. Your OH should be dealing with his DM, not you. Step away.

fizzy1234 Mon 12-Aug-19 16:30:51

At the moment, I feel like I have to because every time we visit, she hints she wants something like a cooked meal or something buying for her. My OH does as much but as I mentioned, he receives thank you's for it.

readitandwept Mon 12-Aug-19 16:31:55

Is this woman ill or extremely old/frail??

If not, I don't understand why you do so much for her? There's being nice and there's being a mug. And even if she is ill or old, she has her own DC to care for her.

HeadintheiClouds Mon 12-Aug-19 16:35:54

Sounds bizarre. She whines she wants you to cook her a meal or buy her something every time she sees you?! Is her not saying thank you your only issue with this?

Grumpelstilskin Mon 12-Aug-19 16:39:04

Don't react to the hint then. Also, hjr son can do it if he thinks it is ok for his DM to treat others like a serf. Stop doing anything till she actually acts like a grown-up and asked for it and then thanks you. Each time. Also, ask for the money for the shopping.

readitandwept Mon 12-Aug-19 16:40:37

And how often are you actually seeing her, if you're doing 15 things a week for her? I don't always even see my own mother figure once a week.

Lunde Mon 12-Aug-19 16:51:24

TBH I would back off a little and just let your H run around after her. I had this with my MIL and it really does wear you down and cause resentment when there is no thanks. I was doing her weekly shopping with no car and yet she wanted things from specific shops on the other side of town (and would check receipts) even though I could have bought the identical product in my local store. I was doing all of her washing including bedding without my own washing machine and no tumble dryer access - we offered to buy her a washing machine so we could do it and her house but she refused because she wanted us to "take it away". All this in return for her rudeness.

Let your H cook for her next time she "hints". Perhaps visit less often.

Loopytiles Mon 12-Aug-19 16:51:54

“I’ve also started having arguments with my partner over this who thinks I’m being unreasonable.” That doesn’t sound good.

You could visit much less and let your DP buy and do things for his mother himself.

Suggest working on your assertiveness and boundaries - among other benefits this would reduce the risks of disliking her more, snapping at her, and/or badmouthing her to your DP.

Is she v elderly, unwell or disabled? Even if she is, no excuse for such rudeness!

MMmomDD Mon 12-Aug-19 16:56:53

She is you bf’s mom. She isn’t disabled.
Why are you doing her shopping and cooking?
He can/should do it.

And in general - when I do things for people I like - I don’t care if there is a formal thank you. For example - I find it silly to make my kids to thank me every day x3 for every meal I put in from of them. Same way I don’t thank them for doing home work and dressing.
As to other people - if it’s a favour for someone - thanking is nice to have.

You should stop being a people pleaser and volunteering. Only least to resentment.

Chamomileteaplease Mon 12-Aug-19 17:04:03

So what actually happens? You are at her house and she hints that she wants you to cook her a meal?? And you jump up and do it?? Why doesn't your partner do it if he thinks that's the right thing to do?

Just stop going there! As someone else said, there is already hostility there.

Tooner Mon 12-Aug-19 17:06:46

I would cut down your visits and when you do go just ignore her whinging about being hungry or needing shopping. Let your partner answer her or cook for her. If he mentions it to you tell him she's his mother and she seems to appreciate him doing things for her rather than you as he always gets a thankyou and you rarely do.

lottiegarbanzo Mon 12-Aug-19 17:09:05

Is she frail? disabled? very poor?

Why can't she shop and cook for herself?

Does she not eat at normal mealtimes? In which case, either visit after meals rather than before, or invite her to yours for dinner when it suits you.

I find the situation hard to understand.

eddielizzard Mon 12-Aug-19 17:09:59

I think you have to break this pattern. Stop doing all this stuff for her. She'll soon be grateful when you do help her. She's taking you for granted because she knows you want her approval.

NotSuchASmugMarriedNow1 Mon 12-Aug-19 17:11:48

Next time you cook her a meal, when she puts it in the sink say "did you enjoy that?" Be interesting to see what she says.

Any request has to have a "please" added. If there's no please, say "whats the magic word" like you would with a child.

What is she like at your house?

Davespecifico Mon 12-Aug-19 17:14:24

If she thanks him and not you, then she doesn’t have a high opinion of you, but you are good enough to serve her.
Stop helping out.

Singlenotsingle Mon 12-Aug-19 17:17:04

What's with all this preoccupation with food? I'm imagining someone very old, fairly immobile, looking like Jabba The Hutt!

JasonColbyStankers Mon 12-Aug-19 17:20:31

Stop being a martyr.

Charles11 Mon 12-Aug-19 17:21:09

Is there a reason she needs shopping and cooking done for her?

NotSuchASmugMarriedNow1 Mon 12-Aug-19 17:22:16

Are you going round there at mealtimes? May I ask why?

PaintingOwls Mon 12-Aug-19 17:22:42

I'm not sure how you managed this long!

If I were you I would stop all the helping nonsense. Let her drop hints, don't react to them. As PPs said, let her son sort her out. And stop visiting so often! Or do you live there?

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