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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.

mummmy2017 Mon 12-Aug-19 17:29:35

Just tell him you won't be helping...
When she goes steak sandwiches would be nice say "Yes please." Or "No thank you."
If she says can you do it just laugh.
Wants you to buy her something, "Darling son and is going that way he can do it!"

MrsAJCrowley Mon 12-Aug-19 17:45:18

If she’s going to act like a child, treat her like one. If you are happy to continue shopping and cooking etc don’t let her have the stuff until she says thank you. Even if you have to resort to a ‘what do we say?’ Or ‘what’s the magic word?’ Before you give her the shopping/dinner.

Or tell her to shove it and don’t bother.

ZazieTheCat Mon 12-Aug-19 17:47:32

Stop doing stuff for her.

HollowTalk Mon 12-Aug-19 17:51:41

Is this where we discover she's only in her 50s?

Just stop doing things for her, OP, and if your OH thinks you are unreasonable, perhaps reassess your relationship, because frankly anyone who thought you were unreasonable would have to be a bit of a dick.

mbosnz Mon 12-Aug-19 17:56:13

My mother has a very bad habit of trying to get people to do things for her without her outright asking. She made the mistake of straight out saying this to me and DH. It's a bit of a game to her.

Since that time, we've played another game. We won't do anything for her without her explicitly asking. . .

Try playing that game with her. . . and make sure she says please! (It can be very entertaining seeing how frustrating and confusing they find your sudden deliberate obtuseness. . .)

AutumnCrow Mon 12-Aug-19 17:58:18

You sound young, OP ( compared to me smile) so yeah I'm betting the MiL is in her 50s or early 60s?

fizzy1234 Mon 12-Aug-19 18:09:35

Just to add, this woman lives around the corner from us. She’s in her 70s and has quite a lot illnesses BUT she isn’t dieing! It has always been a regular thing since I have been introduced to the family to visit her to check up once/twice a week. We normally go after work hence why the original post revolves around food! She’s too lazy to cook for herself and rarely eats proper meals which is why she always hints for me to go get her a snack or food! Normally go with my OH but recently, he has been extremely busy! She gets her shopping delivered for her but as I say, she doesn’t buy much and normally eats most of it by Wednesday!!!

readitandwept Mon 12-Aug-19 18:12:06

Normally go with my OH but recently, he has been extremely busy!

Be extremely busier.

AutumnCrow Mon 12-Aug-19 18:19:22

Oh ok, x post, she's in her 70s. Is she fit and well? In pain? Fatigued?

Trying to picture this.

Loopytiles Mon 12-Aug-19 18:21:41

Yeah, stop accompanying your DP to 75% to 90% of his visits to her. Just go every few weeks.

Use the time on things that benefit your career, health, other relationships, hobbies. As your DP is doing with his time.

Loopytiles Mon 12-Aug-19 18:24:57

You could explain to him that you no longer wish to visit her or do as much for her, due to wishing to spend more time and energy on other things and her rudeness. so whilst you will visit regularly, always with him, and do things from time to time, it’s down to him.

fedup21 Mon 12-Aug-19 18:25:32

Just stop doing things for her, OP, and if your OH thinks you are unreasonable, perhaps reassess your relationship, because frankly anyone who thought you were unreasonable would have to be a bit of a dick.

This. You have a massive DH problem here.

Re MIL-go there less, let DH do all the work and ignore any hints. You are being a doormat and she is enjoying wiping her feet on you.

Snog Mon 12-Aug-19 18:43:55

What is your motivation for doing things for MIL?

It's perfectly possible to be nice to her without doing any errands for her.

Lunde Tue 13-Aug-19 11:16:49

I would say that your DH is at fault here - being "busy" - he has handed over responsibility for running around after his mother to you and made sure that you are doing the "women's work" for his mother. You work full time but he just waits for you to start cooking at his mother's house! If he cannot make the time to run around after her why should you? You should become "busy" for a few weeks and let him deal with it.

He needs to address the food issue with his mother. Why is she not buying enough food? (My MIL used to do this as a manipulative strategy to force visits). He could do a small online shop for her despite being "busy". He could sign her up for Wiltshire Farm Foods or similar so that she always has food in the freezer.

I would cut back on the visits if he is not going to be present to stop him from making you responsible for her.

Loopytiles Tue 13-Aug-19 11:20:55

OP hasn’t stated whether or not she’s married. Whether or not she is, his expectations of OP are unreasonable!

Could also indicate that he has some sexist attitudes.

SavingSpaces2019 Tue 13-Aug-19 18:45:30

I have gone out of my way to please her, not because I felt I had to but because I wanted to!

Ahhh, the perpetual martyr!
No sympathy from me.
It isn't difficult to have self respect and put boundaries in place - if you want to

thatwouldbeanecumenicalmatter Tue 13-Aug-19 20:20:52

but recently, he has been extremely busy!

Oh how unfortunate, what absolute bad luck that he can't partake in the 'womens-work' of caring for his own mother, but what a coincidence that he has someone with xx chromosomes to do his bidding.

As a PP said be busier. She doesn't respect you and clearly the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, as neither does he.

Davespecifico Wed 14-Aug-19 08:43:03

This lady is way too young to be waited on like this. She’s taking the mick.

Nanny0gg Wed 14-Aug-19 09:06:20

So she's in her 70s with some Illnesses. Are they debilitating?

Is she short of money?

WishingILivedOnAnIsland Wed 14-Aug-19 09:34:31

Stop reacting to hints. Just let the hint hang in the air and don't give into the awkwardness.

If she actually needs a favour from you, she should ask for it.

Stop going around so much. Gradually reduce your visits, send DH off with your best wishes for her- you're busy with work/hobby/house stuff

fizzy1234 Wed 14-Aug-19 11:23:59

@autumncrow She is well but makes everybody feel sorry for! Constantly moaning every time I go round that she doesn't feel well or is starving. Naturally, I am going to feel sorry for her.

fizzy1234 Wed 14-Aug-19 11:26:55

@Davespecifico tell me about it!

fizzy1234 Wed 14-Aug-19 11:33:09

@lunde WOW, that is just sheer rudeness. I think kindness can quickly turn into expectations which I think what has happened in my situation. It starts with you doing nice things and then suddenly, it becomes a chore and there is no thanks.

AutumnCrow Wed 14-Aug-19 11:42:16

Does she have the means to stick a ready meal in a microwave, @fizzy1234?

That could be a solution, on top of your detatching quite a lot from this. Your partner can take these meals to his mother so she has a supply in. They can be surprisingly inexpensive, as he'll realise when he buys them on the way over there.

HeadintheiClouds Wed 14-Aug-19 11:44:16

Can you explain where the “sheer rudeness” is in Lunde’s post, op?

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