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Talk to me about strategies to minimise awful MIL's effect on DD?

(6 Posts)
SarahAndQuack Sun 19-Jul-20 21:08:12

DD is three, and getting more and more able to understand how people are behaving. MIL is pretty manipulative and unpleasant, and she doesn't like me at all. DP recognises that MIL frequently behaves badly, and does generally make some effort to call her on it (though I think she could probably do more), but also, DP is human and it's her mother, and she loves and misses her. It's fair to say MIL also had a pretty shit life and there are ample reasons why she'd be as she is.

Describing a recent visit would give you some idea of what she's like. We went down just after the guidance about visiting family in their home changed. DP explained to MIL that we know a lot of people (including my parents) who are still very anxious and, out of respect to them, we really didn't want her to be hugging DD or picking her up/kissing her. I know it's hard, but MIL immediately picked her up, wanted her to hug everyone, kept going back for more, and whenever we asked her not to she'd say 'it's fine, it's only family' or 'she's going to be very upset and confused if you don't let her'. During the same visit, SIL (MIL's other daughter) was there with her son; MIL persistently criticised his eating habits and his screen time to me, telling me 'you brought up DD properly, none of this'. Obviously we demurred, and SIL is pretty patient with her mother.

But, it was obvious DD was beginning to recognise some of this behaviour isn't normal. She has asked me 'why doesn't granny like you' a few times, and 'is granny angry with [cousin's name]?'

We had a short, very simple chat about 'granny is sometimes a bit funny and you shouldn't worry too much,' but TBH I do worry. I have already reduced contact as much as seems fair on DP, and I have to admit she can on occasion be lovely with DD.

The only times I've directly challenged things, MIL has either burst into tears and required everyone to comfort her, or insisted she never said or did anything wrong.

OP’s posts: |
Dullardmullard Sun 19-Jul-20 21:29:26

FOr me that’s easy low contact or no contact

But your partner is stilled mired in the FOG as shes been conditioned to accept it sadly

Would she go low contact or is that A. No the now

SarahAndQuack Sun 19-Jul-20 21:39:20

No, I think DP really misses her mum and this is as low contact as she can cope with.

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FannyFungi Sun 19-Jul-20 21:59:42

I’m really sorry you’re having this experience with your mil.

My mil has really damaged her relationship with my eldest because of the subtle but nasty digs she makes towards me. She started to recognise it at three or four and now at almost 11 she has no time for the woman. My mil has mostly improved and is trying very hard to connect but my dd is ridiculously loyal and protective of me and I’m not sure their relationship can be healed.

At the time I’d just explain that was her granny’s way and that everyone was different and she was only behaving the way her mum taught her but I also told my dd she didn’t have to put up with it and she didn’t have to like her granny if that’s how she felt.

Shizzlestix Sun 19-Jul-20 23:09:15

I think you should insist on your decisions re no hugging and reiterate them as needed, taking away your dd from her clutches if necessary. This would really annoy me, she’s undermining you.

SarahAndQuack Sun 19-Jul-20 23:24:24

Thanks both, very much.

@FannyFungi - when you say 'at the time' that's what you did, do you mean you'd do something differently now? And does your DP have a perspective on it?

@Shizzlestix - we do. This is the thing. It's not like she forgot about not hugging DD, or did it once and stopped when we asked her to. She did it repeatedly, and each time we intervened, and each time she wanted to argue it/dismiss it. I mean, we could I suppose have walked out, but it was at that level - it wasn't that she needed us to say no more firmly face to face.

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