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Can this be repaired?(5 Posts)
So this isn't a bash MIL thread, it's a 'how do I make this better' thread for the sake of DS?
My fiancé is the youngest child and his mum is an older mum. We've always got on, not closely but he is much closer to his dad so I am too. They are separated but still live together very awkwardly. It makes visiting them difficult as she stays in a bedroom and doesn't leave unless she needs to make food.
Since our DS was born (first), his mum has done many things which have alienated me and almost 'damaged' how I feel about her. Don't get me wrong, they weren't outrageously serious in terms of she should never see him again, but many of them were done when my hormones were hitting soon after birth so that, coupled with the lockdown we had, has stuck with me and made me feel very protective of DS. She's continued doing things, not in a caring way, but a selfish and competitive manner which just alienates me more. My fiancé has agreed with me about her actions and when she has been asked on occasion not to, it's resulted in strops or her storming off. It hasn't always been directly about DS either, my fiancé lost his grandfather to Covid which devastated him and not once did she acknowledge it, even with just a 'sorry' because it was his dad's father. Different strokes and all that but I feel upset that she thought that was okay.
It doesn't help that I perhaps subconsciously compare his parents too; when he lost his GM a few months before, his dad was the complete opposite and when DS was born, was so tentative towards him and giving him back after a reasonable time frame and taking holidays just to sit with me whereas his mum was messaging me telling me when she was off so she could come and take the baby for the day and trying to take over with absolutely everything concerned when he was a day old.
I have no idea why, but her voice makes me seeth as well as the way she talks to our son and the thought of her being face to face with our son anymore than she has been makes me feel sick and anxious, like a cloud is over me almost. She keeps saying she can't wait to get her hands on him (my fiancé hasn't wanted anyone cuddling him with Covid situation) and it's just taking me back to when he was tiny and she kept forcing herself all over him.
I'm not saying this is normal and I'm right before anyone jumps on me (and feel nervous posting so please be kind!) I'm asking, for the sake of DS, how can I try and change how I feel to make it better for all concerned? All of this just seems to have clumped together and created an issue in my mind that feels like a physical barrier. How can I try and get over this as I feel ridiculous but I just cannot shake feeling like this?
We will never have a really close relationship with her but I don't think it's right that she shouldn't see DS at all and I don't feel like this about anyone else.
I have no idea what to say to you or what advice to give. You have incredibly negative feelings towards this woman. It’s not really clear why except that she tried to mother your son. This is an overstep but not that unusual in a few grandmothers. I think this couple, MIL and PIL, are infecting everyone with their unresolved battles.
By the sounds of it your fiancé’s family is borderline toxic. His parents are separated and living together, for what sounds like a prolonged time. His other living like Mrs Rochester in attic. If she only comes out for food I don’t see how she could have stirred up so much trouble. This is their dynamic as a couple who fact of matter are not separated. They are both creating a shit environment for those connected to them.
But the thing is, this isn’t your problem to solve. Best thing you can do is step back and stay neutral.
Thank you for your reply and words.
I have no idea why these feelings have developed, it makes me feel ridiculous. I don't want for them to be there, they have just become and I want them to be resolved. I agree with you about the environment, it makes things very difficult for all concerned. I'm not actively involved but it does definitely make it harder.
She goes out to work and to visit us or off on lots of holidays but other than that stays in her room through choice.
re this part of your comment:-
'how do I make this better' thread for the sake of DS?"
You likely think this as well because you've probably come from a functional and importantly, an emotionally healthy family yourself. However, the rule book goes out the window entirely when it comes to dysfunctional families.
Re your comment above, you cannot do this either because its not possible. You will not be able to reason with someone who is inherently unreasonable and respect also works both ways. It seems like this woman wants to play at being mother again with your child probably because she sees the two of you of being somehow incapable or something. This is very much her issue. This is who she is and she is not going to change for you, your son or anyone else. If anyone has to step in to try and solve this at all (not advised) it should be your fiance rather than you. What does he think of his parents these days?. Presumably he still wants to see his dad so why not see him outside the house?.
Have you ever wondered exactly why your fiance is closer to his dad; its likely because he is far more reasonable a person than his mother is or ever would be. He is emotionally healthy unlike his wife here. What sort of person strops or storms off when you have asked her quite reasonably to stop; a person who wants their own way that is who.
Why would you at all subject your son, after all your most precious resource, to his mother at all let alone try and build up a relationship when both you and your fiance find her extremely difficult to deal with?. I would look at your own boundaries again here because they still need some revising. For example you would not tolerate what she has done here from a friend and she is no different. You need radiators in your lives, not drains and his mother is a drain on yours.
Why do you feel so obligated also to "resolve" this and for the sake of your son (again no reason at all really); not all relatives are nice and kind and some of them are actively dreadful. She is not going to listen to you or equally your son; its her way or no way. Again it is not your fault she is like this and you did not make her that way either.
Do read "Toxic Inlaws" by Susan Forward.
I think you don’t have to like people. I don’t like my MIL who would make Mrs Rochester look sane. My Oh doesn’t like her or his father for that matter. They had a toxic marriage, divorce and after divorce. His dads the charmer (until he isn’t) and his mother is an attention seeker.
I basically keep my distance. A lot of distance and play possum in their company. My Ohs continued relationship with them is at times unfathomable but it always causes him some degree of pain or annoyance. I see my role in all of this as being his support and anchor. The distance and neutrality mean I can bring some perspective to it all. Not all of the time but most of it.
I would not underestimate the toxicity of people in the limbo of separated but living together. This couple are living in an ongoing state of attrition. That says a lot about them as people. I think they maybe playing games with the people around them, trying to win people to their side. Don’t get dragged in and don’t become a flying monkey.
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