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Need the wisdom of persons with horrible MIL experiences... sorry for the long rant

(25 Posts)
Notmyname Sun 09-Jan-05 05:35:28

I'm a regular here and some of you may recognise me from my other threads but I have changed my name in this one as it would really be a problem if DH finds it.

You may remember from my other threads that I have a horrible MIL. During the last 6-7 yrs I have experienced a lot of abuse, ranging from comments that have really hurt me to open racism. She also keeps claiming that DS belongs to her as much as to me (not that he belongs to me as he's just on loan until he is 18, but she really believes she has the right to make decisions about parenting). I won't enter into much detail as I have already mentioned many of the problems with her but would like to say that I have got to a point that I just cant take her comments anymore, not either Dh's lack of action to stop her.

We went to visit the MIL two weeks after the "aborted" trip when she requested DH to go back to England and take our son to her because she can't wait 2 weeks for me to finish my dissertation. So well, we went and had a hell of a time, in the time there my DH's best friend had an oportunity to see how my MIL acts towards me and spent 3 hrs talking to him about what an imbecile he was for letting his mother act like that towards me. During the long conversation he (DH's friend) mentioned that DH needed to stop his mother and show her that she should respect us as a family and specially me as a person, and that a good way to do it was to let her know on the next abuse that she needed to respect me, even that if that meant we needed to cut contact for a time to help her understand our point.

Well, though DH was highly touched and apparently convinced of the point after the conversation, but still allow the wretched woman to join us for every single plan we had for the day. The turning point is that I went to the doctor, and he ordered some X rays, but my MIL told Dh that we didn't have time for my X rays because she wanted to get my opinions about a new house she has bought to renovate (I have also been trained as a interior designer). All the day went from one nasty comment to another, a lot of screaming between MIL and DH about the way we are raising DS and finally at the end of the day, DH said it was time for a very serious conversation, so I thought he finally would confront his mother and ask for more respect, however he said "well, I believe that the three of us (MIL, DH and me) need to sit down and decide how are we going to raise DS". I just went MAD, I went back to our room and packed all the lugagge. I would have left if DS was not fully asleep and it wasn't midnight. DH and MIL kept talking for a further hour but DH only mentioned about the need for her to respect the routines that we have settled for DS (such a chicken!!!). Anyways MIL went to bed not before saying that she would be in her room waiting for an appology.

Next day she was still angry but when she saw we were taking the luggage to the entrance she started crying and begging us not to leave but to talk about it. I said I was not going to talk it through again as I have already did so may times without she paying any attention and left DH and her discussing about it to take a shower. Next thing I know is MIL banging the door down screaming that I finally have managed to separate her from her son, but to be honest I was so feed up that I didnot even explode I just limited myself to reply to her accusations in all honestity...

So finally friend came to pick us up to take us to the airport, and at that point MIL transformed into a dragon, according to DH she told such horrible things about me that he finally realised that his mother's behaviour towards me was fully premeditated, specially when she told him that if he left with me she would never contact him again, and when she screamed at me that I was going to regret it and that... there would be another time in the future when she would win over me.

So we left, but expected to be plagued by nasty telephone messages as usual. But instead of that we got only silence. DH didn't seem convinced that what we did was the right thing to do, so I told him that I didn't want to stop him or DS from seeing MIL but just to WAIT for her to ring because I believe that if he ringed her first and specially so soon, such discussion would have been pointless. So I happily believed that he was finally standing his ground with MIL until a week ago, when by accident I found a thread of messages from and to his sister, one of them telling her that he was going to call his mother that day.

In a way I feel betrayed and in a worse condition than before as DH has failed to support me and, in a way, was prepared to back down. We had a big row about it where I mentioned that I was prepared to leave him, and he didn't mention anything to comfort me but just splurted that he won't allow me to keep DS. I was hurt by that but anyways, we talked the problem through and he said he was going to stand by me. 3 days later I found yet another message from her sister (writing from a different address) demanding the reason why he had not ring. I didn't mention about the message, but a couple of days later I told him that after the content of the previous messages I found it a bit extrange that they had not send any more messages, and he said he had not received anything!!!, I asked him again a day later and he denied any contact so when he told to me in one of his pseudo-romantic talks that if there was someone I can trust in the world it was him, I just told him not to be cynical specially when he had permitted the abuse, failed to defend me and now was lieing to me...

I am so disapointed with him and I feel I could not trust him, or respect him again. I don't like his company anymore and don't feel like staying for long. I just came back to try to make myself financially independant so I can ask for divorce in due time.

So the question for those who have had terrible experiences with the inlaws is: is it worth it to keep trying to save this marriage? would I trust DH again? can I feel atracted again by DH who I much resent and feel I have not admire him anymore.Gosh! I don't even fancy him anymore.... I understand that MIL should not ruin our relationship but she has definitively contributed to its erosion, as everytime she was nasty to me I ended up disapointed with DH for his lack of concern. I’m seriously wondering how I could sacrifice my career, leave my family, friends, and country for somebody who could not even wait for his mother to understand our point (or is it MY point?) rather than letting me down and ring her to appologise.

If you have read up to this point thank you very much. Sorry for ranting

emmaTooMuchGrub Sun 09-Jan-05 07:45:01

Wow! and I thought my MIL was bad!

I once had a disscussion with a friend who said "You are aware the she(my MIL) will always be a problem in your relationship"
I replied that i was quite aware of it and it only been very recently, say 10 months, that she hasn't been a physical problem. Things have happen in those 10 months, like no birthday card to the boys but at least we haven't had to actaully see her. Last time we saw her she ignored us so that was it for me.

In your position, I would NOT allow her to get involved with DS whether it upset her or not, DS is yours and Dh's, she has no right to be involved in his up-bringing IMO.

As for you question at the end....well, I was always infuriated that my DH wouldn't back me up so I did find it hard to not fell dissappointed, trust him etc however my MIL is the only thing we ever argue/argued about so most of the time we just carried on happily.

I really not sure if I'm being helpful at here........but the one thing I have ALWAYS know is that I would never ever leave Dh as I simply wouldn't give her the chance to say "well I told you she was no good". Pathetic as it sounds but I would never let her win.

emmaTooMuchGrub Sun 09-Jan-05 07:50:24

soory about typos......


YouR questionS

fEEl disappointed


etc etc

sobernow Sun 09-Jan-05 08:11:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

hattynewyear Sun 09-Jan-05 08:51:25

you poor thing. I don't have experience either but it seems to me that you have done everything humanly possible to make all your entirely reasonable points yet it doesn't seem to be getting through to your dh. Have you thought about marriage counselling? It's a good way of talking through your problems with a third party present. They won't take sides (even in a case as cler cut as this!) but they will help you map your way through what needs to be discussed and help you find solutions. Just make sure dh realises that NO, mil can't come too . On teh substance of your grievances your mil clearly has a problem with letting her ds go. She is handling it very badly and will end up driving him away.I think grandparents have some rights re their g.children - but they have duties too. One of which is to respect the parents' right to make all the decisions about how to bring them up. I know that my mum is really upset that my nephew lives in a house with the telly on all day, and never goes to playgroups etc. But - although it's killing her she wouldn't dream of saying anything. She knows that all she can do is be around, offer to help, babysit etc (without being pushy) and turn the telly off when she does!

sobernow Sun 09-Jan-05 09:04:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

hattynewyear Sun 09-Jan-05 09:47:04

wasn't talking about legal rights - basically, imho, I do think gps have, for example, some moral right to have contact.

edam Sun 09-Jan-05 10:32:26

But not if they consistently undermine the parents and try to destroy their children's marriage. After all, if the marriage is basically good apart from MIL issues, then MIL's behaviour is basically threatening the welfare of her grandchildren. She thinks SHE is more important than her g/c. Very, very selfish.
Notmyname, I think the suggestions on this thread are good re SIL and Relate. But ultimately if your dh consistently allows his mother to abuse you, and to threaten your position a mother, then I can see why you are questioning your marriage.

hattynewyear Sun 09-Jan-05 10:38:37

oh god. I did not want to state anything controversial, nor did I mean to be stating anything that was directly relevant to this situation. I just said, as a kind of aside, that imho, gps do have some moral rights re their gcs. I did not say that they have such rights in all circumstances. I specifically qualified what I said. Sorry but I do think that sometimes there is a tendency for the "little" bits in someone's posting to get jumped on, turning the thrust of the thread into something else, which the original poster didn't neccessarily want. If someone started a thread on gps rights I would consider contributing but am not going to do it here, on notmyname's thread, which requested advice

moondog Sun 09-Jan-05 10:47:31

Absoloutely preposterous.
You have been undermined and let down by your dh and mil.
I would take the child and leave him (for a bit) telling him that you need to think about your future.
Even if you have every intention of staying with him (reading between the lines seems like you do) it might frighten him a little into supporting you more.
Unfair as it is (in many cases) in the event of separation/divorce, 9 times out of 10, mothers get the kids and your dh and mil should be aware of that.
Best of luck.

JJ Sun 09-Jan-05 10:56:32

Was thinking about this for a while, but your husband is, for the most part, facilitating the verbal and mental abuse that your MIL is giving you. I'd be upset, too!

I'm not sure if the marriage is worth saving - that's up for you to decide - but I don't think I could live like that. If you do decide to give you and your son a break from your MIL (by moving out) or give you husband an ultimatum, you have to realize that things might not work out, ie be prepared for the worse to happen. I'm not sure how easy it would be for the two of you to take some time off (eg do you have family to stay with or another place to stay for an indefinite - but not permanent - period?).

Anyway, this is really rambly, I know. Sorry about that. But do document what happens and when. There are a few benefits to this - if the worse does happen, you'll have it down on paper. But more importantly, if your husband sees it written down, maybe his mother's behaviour will strike home.

Just wanted to say that I think that you need to do what's best for you. The situation isn't good for your son either - growing up with a father who shows so little respect for his mother can't be good.. and having that sort of grandmother is just scary to think about! From what I understand, he can't 'not allow you to keep DS' (hope the double negative makes sense). If you leave and are worried about that, don't allow him contact on his own.

Usual caveats apply: take this with a grain of salt and only use what makes sense in your situation.

polkadot Sun 09-Jan-05 11:16:47

Do you think that this is something that you and your husband could discuss with some support from Relate? It sounds to me that he feels that he is being pulled between you and your MIL and just doesn't know what to do hence the lying. I'm wondering if Relate would help you both to look at the problem from both of your perspectives and also help you to work out and agree a strategy for dealing with it. I suspect that if you and your DH can work something out and can be united in front of your MIL then she will back down to some degree even if it is only because she does not want to lose contact with DGS.

anorak Sun 09-Jan-05 11:23:26

I really do sympathise. We have no contact with dh's parents since they abused me (and to a lesser extent, dh). I told dh I would understand if he wanted to see them, after all, they are his parents. But he said no, he was adamant. Deep inside I was glad, because I know if he had compromised with them I would have felt undermined and unsupported.

But it has been terribly hard on my dh. He totally supported me, but he almost had a breakdown following all this, and is currently undergoing a course of psychotherapy to try and overcome the damage.

But whatever has happened my dh and I are there for one another and he has not allowed his parents to influence that. It looks to me the same kind of game my inlaws were playing. They didn't like me so they tried to discredit me. I guess they hoped I would leave and they could say 'I told you so' to dh. Also I'm sure they would have enjoyed seeing dh fail so they could hold up their exemplary marriage in front of him as a beacon (FIL has had countless affairs and MIL tolerates him like an ice-maiden martyr - they are both too worried about what people think to make their own lives fulfilling).

The pull that parents have on their children cannot be underestimated. I think your MIL sounds like a prize manipulator and your dh has been subjected to this all his life. Is it any wonder he is unable to fully support you with a lifetime of that behind him?

I agree with the suggestion of going to Relate. They will gently guide your dh through the conditioning he has received and help him see the picture with fresh eyes. Perhaps at the same time they will be able to help you see just how hard this is for your dh and then you might forgive him a little.

You have my sympathy, I understand what a rotten position you have been put in. It is certainly enough to wreck a marriage, however, I do hope you can rise above what's on the surface and give your dh the tools he needs to see the light - that is by being the opposite of your witch MIL.

Good luck xxx

JanH Sun 09-Jan-05 12:09:28

Notmyname, I think your situation is even more complicated than it sounds because of the different countries and cultures concerned; you are from one, he is from another and you are living in a third, so you both have different experiences and expectations, and you at least are well aware of how different things can be here...I was so pleased to read that DH's friend had told him what an imbecile he was being that it was even more disappointing to hear how he has caved in yet again.

I think I agree that he needs a shock and if there is somewhere you can go - to a friend? - taking DS away temporarily might concentrate his mind. From what his mother said to him when she turned into the dragon it doesn't sound as if she could say anything worse if you did, and she needs to know that you are prepared to do that.

I'm wondering though what effect the different nationalities would have on any custody decision, if it came to that - where would it be decided?

Stripymouse Sun 09-Jan-05 12:28:12

wow - I thought my pils were bad but yours in in another league. Can sympathise with your Dh’s behaviour though. We have a great relationship but I wonder sometimes if push came to shove between them and me which side he would go to. He will not allow me to say one bad word about them and refuses to acknowledge their poor attitude and behaviour to me - I am exagerrating/pmt/misheard you name it. To be fair to him, mil does try to slide the nasty comments in deliberately out of his ear shot or when he is in another room. Very frustrating. Luckily for me, we don’t see them often enough and it is not so terrible for me that I can choose to put up with it rather than let this one issue wreck our marriage - and it would if I let it. My mil ruled the roost when her kids were chidlren and has forgotten they have grown up and refuses to believe that she is anything other than the ultimate centre of her children’s life and her grandchildren’s - dils are just annoying threats to her perfect world.
I have no answers, just total sympathy xx

sozie Sun 09-Jan-05 12:47:08

My MIL is jealous of the relationships her sons have with their wives. She feels we keep them from her. She acts the pathetic widow in front of them and plays one off against the other. She is cold and bossy to her dil's but I have only minimum contact with her now as she is no good for my health. I have told dh if he can't ensure our children and I are his no. 1 priority we have no future. I can fully understand your resentment towards your dh. My dh is going to visit MIL next weekend as she lives at the other end of the UK (thank the lord) and she has said she is glad he is coming on his own without the children or myself. I am most annoyed at her lack of interest in our children - if she ever interferred with our way of raising them I would probably have to kill her there and then with my bare hands. I think you have shown remarkable restraint and self respect - I hope you can save your marriage [hugs]

eemie Sun 09-Jan-05 13:35:26

Well in our case it is a blessing that my MIL has no interest in our dd. I shudder to think what kind of influence she might be.

Our lives have improved immeasurably since we stopped trying to get on with the woman and cut contact to a couple of hours once a year. We see her only at her house so we can leave whenever we want.

She seems to have given up complaining - it must be obvious that if she did we would stop contact altogether. Before that, when she still felt she had some control over the situation, she made herself unbearable with her demands and tantrums and attempts at emotional blackmail.

I hope you and your dh will succeed in putting your MIL at a distance, where she belongs. Don't give her the satisfaction of wrecking your relationship. Wishing you all the best

nightowl Mon 10-Jan-05 07:50:05

i would actually say that my ex mil was a factor in my split with her son. not at all the same situation but she was at best a manipulative, cruel woman who would stop at nothing to get her own way. she never showed one bit of interest in me until i was pregnant. they would slam the phone down on me whenever i rang through no good reason..solely because they preffered my partners ex to me. when i got pg mil was all over me and i thought they had finally accepted me...oh how wrong i was. when i had the baby and went back to work they offered to look after him...we said we would happily pay them for this.. mil said she didnt want any money and if we gave them any she would refuse to look after ds. i thought this was so kind. so the arrangement went ahead but soon it was clear they were taking over. i could tell so many stories about this but it would take all day. they forced us to change ds's doctor to their local one as they said if he was ill they couldnt take him to his own and they wouldnt have him anymore. so we did and all his appointments ended up going to their house. they took him to baby clinic every month and lied to us about what the hv had said. they once told us that hv said he couldnt eat the baby yoghurts i had bought him..i phoned up the clinic and hv had never said that. we also used to send him down with frozen cooked meals and i found out they were throwing them away and feeding him mcdonalds! they lied about everything they possibly could and when me and my partner split up they continued trying to stir. i didnt know until years later when i was actually good friends with his new partner but they had been trying to stir between us. they told me that she hated my son and pushed him away if he came near her. they told her i was a rubbish mother who didnt care about my baby. for example, i would put in his bag 6 nappies a day. when i went to their house they had a pile in the corner that they had saved. so i thought, well i wont send any for a week and let them use those ones up. so they told my ex's new partner that i was leaving my baby without nappies! they twisted everything they possibly could and had i not later been friends with my ex's new partner i would never had known about half the things they did. i started on anti-depressants because of that woman. they broke any baby equipment we sent them, lied about hv, lied about doctors (they even told us once ds was having heart failure!) i remember one instance when i asked ds's dad to phone his mum and ask could she please use a bib because all ds's clothes were getting stained. he asked her very politely and she went ballistic, saying she wouldnt have him anymore! its all little things but they added up (there were so many more). after four years of this i finally took him away from them and im sure it was the best thing i ever did. feel so much for anyone who has mil problems, my partner would never stick up for me and would just say "well its between you and my mother".

kinderbob Mon 10-Jan-05 08:13:39

My Dh fully supports me both in front of my MIL and in private. I just couldn't respect him if he didn't. You have my sympathies - she sounds like a real nutcase.

HappyNewCardigan Mon 10-Jan-05 08:37:42

Full sympathy here - what a difficult situation. Sounds like you've had a hard time & have now taken steps to stop it. Stick to your point of view. Your dh has to realise that you & ds go before his mum. Your mil has to learn to respect you. Could take time but worth the wait. Best wishes.

Notmyname Mon 10-Jan-05 11:26:08

Thanks for your kind comments (and the lenght of them, I'm touched by that). And appologies for not replying earlier but between DS's jet lag and DH around through out the weekend it was a bit difficult to get to use the computer on my own.


EmmaTMTG, thanks for your honest words, I may take that attitude if at least to get some motivation to keep trying to save the marriage.

Sobernow, if the inlaws were a "normal" family I would expect the sil to be reasonable but.. she has been even nastier to me (but she doesn't have the same influence over DH), actually, her mother is nastier to her partner than to me and she fully supports her mother. Even DH have asked his mother that she need to be less agressive towards her sister's partner!!!... How can he act on behalf of him and do nothing in my case I will never understand....

Hatty and Polkadot, we have been to Relate several times during the past years, where the counsellor helped DH to realise his sister and mother were trying to separate us (sadly, it was that obvious that even the counsellor felt the need to be very direct). All times DH seems to realise about the problem but after a few months forgets about what have been said and goes back to his usual attitude. The conversation with his friend has been a blessing, as he always thought that the way MIL acted towards me was normal, when the counsellor told him it was way out of "normal" bad behaviour, he said it was a cultural problem as all MILs were like that in Spain. When our Spanish friends told him it was not normal in Spain, he then said it was normal in the place that he comes from. So now, having somebody from the same place telling him it's NOT normal has helped my point a lot.
I also believe in moral rights and obligations to/from the grandparents, that's the only reason I won't like to ask DH to stop all contact with her in a more permanent basis. However, it is starting to seem as the only possible option. BTW in Spain the grandparents have visitation rights granted by law (A good point to stay out of it!)

Anorak, I'm sorry you have been through something like that. I hope your DH feels better about these things in some time, it has helped me to understand how hard it is but I'm sure I would understand better if he was backing me. But you are right, a life time of "conditioning" it is difficult/painful to correct.

Emmie. I totally understand your point. Under these circumstances being ignored by her would be a blessing...

Nightowl, what has been done to you is horrible, now that you know the extent of your inlaws' actions, I'm sure you may feel relieved that even with all the sadness that is generated by a divorce it was the right thing to do. Your child was very young then but I just imagine they won't have stoped from badhmouthing you in front of your child. Many hugs.

Edam, I have been discusing that with DH even since I was pregnant! I'm glad you mentioned it.

JanH, you are right, custody will be a sure problem, eventhough I supose that the laws that may apply are those of the country where the child will be living. However, there's always the chance that the child can be illegaly taken to other country and then you are in limbo, the laws will protect the national parent. However, just the amount of red tape for a case like this will make it impossible to "recover" a child in less than a few years. . ATM DS has just a Spanish passport, a situation that puts me in a very vulnerable position if DH decides to take DS with him. So I need to do all things very carefully if we finally decide to split.

For all of those who suggested me to leave him for some time... well, we had a long conversation yesterday where I asked him how would he like to organise ourselves in the event of a very likely separation. He was a bit shocked for that specially as I told him that I found difficult to trust him again and that trust was the base of any marriage. I told him that I thought he was a fool because with those letters he had given a final blow to an already fragile marriage (to be honest this has been going on for 6 yrs, and I'm so tired of it!). He told me we needed to try to save the marriage to which I answered it was him who needed to try, as I have already tried long and hard and I found difficult that other woman mayhave stand the MIL's behaviour just to be with him as I have done. So it's in his hands, if he wants to save it he needs to do the work, he needs to convince me that I can trust him again, he needs to make me admire him again. I have done enough already.

Yesterday he cooked dinner for me, helped me with DS, and tried to spend some quality time with us, Though I appreciate he is trying, such nice acts may have to be done for a good time before I allow myself to trust him again...

hattynewyear Mon 10-Jan-05 21:10:55

notmyname - don't really know what to say, but wanted to acknowkledge your latest. Obviously it's impossible for me to know very much at all about your siutation, but it really does sound like you have tried and tried and tried. Cooking for you and spending time with you is nice, and perhaps even indicates a deeper concern - but I hope he manages to face up to the real problem

edam Mon 10-Jan-05 21:29:43

Notmyname, I really hope dh is trying to show that he does care for you, and that he does address the central issue.
If it is irretrievable, make sure you get hold of the Spanish passport (and the UK one too) and know where it is. If the worst came to the worst, worth asking a solicitor (a real one!) whether it is possible for the court to make an order preventing the child being taken out of the country, or only allowing access at a contact centre or other specified location with someone you trust present - don't know if this is possible but if things are that bad, worth investigating.

Notmyname Tue 11-Jan-05 08:10:39

A little update here... he seems to be trying to do things right. I have been complaining for ages that he needed to pay more attention to our relationship rather than spent every night working late or only talking about the business. So... yesterday he arrived home with the news he had left the computer at the office, cooked again for us, bathed and put to sleep DS and when I enter to the bathroom to clear up DS's things from the bath he asked me out. 10 min later he call me in and the bathroom was prepared and there were candles everywhere! It was a nice detail but I am not ready to forgive him yet.

And you are right, unless he shows that he is able to deal properly with the MIL problem, I am reluctant to believe that this marriage can work. He needs to go to his city for a conference in a couple of months. I believe that the way he deals with his mother during that trip will determine everything. I don't trust him to defend his point in front of his mother, in other ocassions he has just blamed me in order to avoid problems with her... Horrible as it sounds (and I'm not going to act on that) I don't think I will be happy with him contacting her on his own, but I'm not willing to see that woman either... I just can't trust him on that

Notmyname Tue 11-Jan-05 08:11:52

PS. I would try to get the other passports when DH is less likely to believe that I want them to escape with DS! (Which I wouldn't do, but wouldn't want him to believe that either!)

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