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DIL vs MIL(18 Posts)
Just what IS it between MIL and DIL when the first DC’s arrive? It seems to send us both crazy and make us hate each other? And how can I stop it from escalating again, to the point where I am questioning if I have PND?
I'm the DIL
MIL - She’s an ok person. A bit of a hoity toity/ holier than thou type. I can chat away with her and sometimes enjoy her company (in small doses) but she can’t see past her own nose and is very insulting, tactless and domineering. I’m aware that she thinks her son could have done better; I don’t have a Uni degree, my family aren’t as wealthy as hers so I didn’t quite tick all of her boxes however I have apparently compensated for this by being relatively good looking, meaning her DGC’s may also end up good looking, which is apparently great for all the family photos down the line (true story, the only “compliment” I ever received from her)
So I bite my tongue and we tick along. I either laugh at her silly ways or just ignore her.
But I find her unbearable when it comes to DC and I can’t let things slide. When she tries to take control, acts entitled or ignores what I say/ask in relation to DC, it unleashes a beast in me that I wasn’t aware existed before. I find it so difficult when she does things like snatch DC from my arms, her demanding I remove soother from his mouth, trying to dictate everything from where he goes to school to what he eats and childcare arrangements, her referring to DC as “MY little boy”, her talking to me about him as though he wasn’t actually my child. She completely blanks me and ignores what I am saying and will literally sprint past me if I reach out to take DC from her.
Likewise I seem to piss her off no end, albeit inadvertently. Whenever we’re in the company of others, other people will naturally turn to me and ask how DC is/is he sleeping the night/ eating well etc and will compliment me on how well behaved he is or his gorgeous hair etc - all of the general stuff that people say but it upsets her to the point that she’s left the room sulking or created a bit of a scene by talking over me to answer questions on my behalf. I think she sees it as her role, and him her child, not mine and it upsets her that I’m the one being acknowledged as the mother.
I feel she sees DC as her 3rd child. I know she would have liked more children but it didn’t happen for whatever reason so I think she’s filling that void with my DC. She kept all of DH and SIL’s clothes and toys (from 30+ years ago) and likes to have DC play with them and likes to dress him in their old clothes. I cannot decide if it’s a bit nutty or if it’s just innocent and she’s being practical in a way? DC just never warmed to her, not yet anyway, he doesn't make strange with anyone but cries when she takes him and always wants to come back to me. You'd honestly think he could read my mind or that he understood she was annoying me as it's so obvious it's only her he plays up with. This infuriates her and she does this horrible guilt trip thing, telling DC she’s sad he doesn’t want her and has in the past started crying herself when he does this. It’s a bit cringe.
Lately I seem to have (again inadvertently) started bothering her even more to the point that she seems extremely irritated by me. She recently learned that I earn more money than DH (12K more p/annum) and hadn’t previously realized that I have quite a senior role where I work and seems to have taken this badly. Feels it’s unfair as I am not degree educated. I work my absolute ass off btw and it was a long hard slog to get to where I am. I think she had wrote me off as some dim wit who was nice to look at but not as superior as her or her own family. And the fact that I’ve proven to be otherwise seems to bother her. I think she felt better about herself when she believed I wasn’t successful in my career or that I didn’t know how to be a good wife and mother.
So what to do? DC2 is due in 3 months and I’m determined she doesn’t ruin things for me again. I hope to limit contact and try avoid situations where it’s just me, her and DC. I’m very confident in my abilities as a mother and don’t feel insecure in any way in that regard but it hurts me that she has deemed me so irrelevant not just as a mother but in general, and that she acts like DC is hers, and she the mother in our situation.
So aside from avoiding her completely, has anyone out there mastered setting boundaries and keeping a cool head when dealing with this type of unfair, overbearing behavior?
DH on my “side” btw and will pull her up on things but that just annoys her even further and she then takes it out on me
Go Grey rock. You can google it. Certainly do not enable this narc behaviour.
Is she Irish? She sounds like an archetypal Irish Mammy
Some MILs insist on being the Matriarch and can’t accept their DIL’s equal status as a mother.
You could either pander to her or back away.
Is she a good grandma?
Grey rock method looks good. I do a bit of that already actually
No, not Irish although does have some Irish roots I believe. But matriarch is a good way of describing her.
And sadly no, I can't say that she is a good Grandmother. She seems more interested in making comparisons between him and DH when DH was a baby. She'll happily barge in and take over and try to dictate but in more of a me, me, me way.
When he was a newborn she used to lay him on her lap and stroke him like he was a cat, it didn't seem comfortable or natural. She loves showing him off to neighbors, friends and extended family rather than play with him or read books or teach him nursery rhymes (or any of the typical Nana stuff)
stop biting your tongue!
speak up, answer back, put her in her place.
you have to risk the fallout.
put boundaries in place and consequences if she breaks them.
also, educate yourself on the psychology behind her behaviour
She sounds bonkers.
Apart from reduce the time you spend with her, there's not much else you can do.
I don't think I'd want 30 year old clothes on my child either....it's very weird to keep them that long.
Why do some women want to pretend to be Mum instead of Grandma? I really don't understand it. I am a relatively new paternal grandmother and am enjoying the new role. My DIL and son are doing an amazing job. Yes they do somethings different to how I did but DGC is their baby not mine so it's their call. It makes my heart swell to spend time with the three of them.
These MILs really do spoil things for themselves. I know my In laws saw less of their grandchildren because they tried to undermine me as a mother.
@JellyNo15 you sound like a lovely MIL! Your DIL is very lucky
I don't understand it either. But seems there's not a lot that I can do only avoid as much as possible. Hopefully SIL will settle down soon and give MIL a DGC to distract her from my DC's
Thanks for the feedback and the links
Buy a sling. Put your newborn in that for all the lovely benefits of them hearing your familiar voice and getting used to your smell etc plus if you do not want them whisked out of your arms and taken away it helps stop that
Thank you, although I think I am the lucky one.
I distanced myself and the visits got less and less. I suggest you do the same and if the complain about it tell them exactly why and worse it will get unless they change their attitude. Life is too short to take their rubbish.
You haven’t mentioned your partner at all. My MIL tried all this on when I had my first child, I told DH it was his role to protect his new family from any craziness from his lot and he stepped up and sorted it. We are now on holiday with his parents, having a wonderful time, with the right boundaries and rules in place to suit us and the kids.
FWIW it’s also my job to protect our family from my lots craziness. We are a team, but everyone deals with their own parents!
It won't feel like it yet, but once your new dc is born you just naturally become a bit more assertive.
I hope I'm a decent /good MIL. I make sure to always ask if I can give different foods etc. We have the privilege of caring for dgs a couple of days a week. Both DIL and DS laugh when we ask permission - they both say that if they didn't trust us to always have dgs best interests at heart, they wouldn't have asked us to look after him to begin with. But I will carry on asking, because he is their child. Even when DIL asks advice (which, bless her, she does quite regularly) I always ask her what is her gut feeling and try to support her in wet decision. Sometimes, I know she asks me because her own mum can be a bit forceful and she knows I would only steer her differently to her own wishes if I thought her decision could be dangerous in some way. I do feel it's an honour to be a gp and to be invited to be so involved in his upbringing. I am not going to do anything to make the think twice about that.
My own MIL, sadly, had no interest in my DCs and is now reaping the 'rewards' of her choices. I feel sad for her actually - she has missed out on so much joy and is now missing out on her only d ggc.
My MIL can be a bit of a pain in the arse but not as bad as this.
However, the things I relate to - she likes to tell me what my children are like - "oh that's what so and so does... they love chicken nuggets " etc - small things, like I wouldn't know them about my own child who I live with and raise and need her to tell me?
Also - any redeeming quality OBVIOUSLY comes from her son. "My son was just the same, he was really good at timetables" blah blah blah....
She also seemed to want to take on a mother role. It all used to drive me demented, then one day I was at her house, eldest DC hurt herself, and MIL assumed she would be the default position for comfort as she had put herself on that pedestal in her mind. Nope... obviously (seems it now but didn't at the time) she came running to me. Just wanted mummy.
That was a turning point. I realised she could witter on all she liked, put herself atop the loftiest pedestal in the world, but I am mummy. I will be the one they want when they hurt themselves for are poorly, irrespective of who is there. I know I am their world. Their lives are richer for having these other people in them, but I have that position. Compete all she likes she won't beat me.
You sound like a lovely, self confident mummy. They to rise above it. You have your role. Let her kid herself all she likes, but she will never have that place in their hearts. She knows it. Which is why she tries so damn hard to prove she has it. mil for me hasn't got any better but I just smile and know. And I keep my distance. I enjoy her company more now.
And I figure how lucky are my kids to have people so desperately want to be in their hearts? (In my moree saintly moments )
Ha ha again, nope she's not Irish!
Thanks ladies. Good to know I'm not the only one. I was up late reading about narcissists and how to deal with them. Wow! Mine ticks pretty much all of the boxes, SIL up there too.
I think distancing myself is my only hope. DH understands and doesn't approve of her behavior thankfully and I've told him to be on high alert going forward in case I am a bit fragile after DC2 is born so at least that's something!
Going to try forget about her and enjoy the rest of this pregnancy
My MIL was very similar. What changed it (if only a bit) was that the thought of going through the whole running off with the baby / wondering aloud how she had that feature (me) / suddenly forgetting her fluent English and barking instructions “I will take her” - again turned me into a total stroppy cow as DD2’s due date approached. At first confused, I think the penny dropped, and when DD2 appeared, the first time she started rooting while MIL was holding her, she said “oh, she wants a feed” and handed her back. That was a huge thing.
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