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Mother In Law....Arrggghhhhh!!!! Help?

(48 Posts)
NewlyMarried Tue 01-Jul-08 12:29:32

Right, this is long, sorry. Hubby and i have been together 3 years, married a few weeks.

Hubby confronted my MIL last night over her treatment of me, looking down her nose at me and my family and for her clingyness towards him, constant refusal to accept me into her family (telling me they are so close and it takes them so long to accept 'new' people). At parties she sits between us with her hand on his knee and proceeds to follow him around hanging on his arm and whispering to him. Also, just got our official wedding pics back and she is inapproptiately holding his hand in the pics, he looks awkward as if he is trying to hide it and she is standing all proud and overshadowing her hubby whom she ignores except to criticise the poor man (FIL is lovely by the way!). She was heard at the wedding making comments against my family, needs to know all our business and is snide to me when hubby is not in the room.

Anyway, confronted her last night, she denied EVERYTHING! Say's I am super-sensitive and paranoid. Whilst my hubby was talking to her she was crying her eyes out begging him to tell her he still' feels something' for her and to tell her that this is all from me, that he doesn't have his own mind anymore and "tell me you don't hate me?". I feel she is extremely emotionally manipulative and guilt trips my hubby to the absolute maximum, its so sad for me to watch her do this to him as he gets very upset by it. He is great, he is very supportive, sees all her snidey ways and stands up for me.

However, she denies every single thing, everything - even things that other people saw, even the photos, everything and its all plain to see for everyone except her!!!!!!

She asked to speak to me, told me I was crazy and was crying at first. Within 2 seconds she had stopped crying and was all snidey and quick with her verbal jabs at me. I told her I am not here to be 'accepted' into her 'small, close' family, that I'm a good person, I love her son and that me and hubby are our own family now and if she wants to be part of it, all she has to do is be genuine with me. As soon as I put hubby back on the phone, she was weeping and wailing, telling him she can't take anymore of this and that he has changed so much. I have tried everything to be nice to her and involve her but she always lets me down and digs at me covertly.

We are talking about having kids soon and she definitely does not want that, don't know why but she just does not want me and her son to have kids full stop.

Do any of u have experience of any of this? What did u do? Can I ever hope to have a nice decent relationship with her? I can't do this while she denies everything because if we skip over this now, I think it will never stop. Sorry this is long, any advice will be greatly appreciated.

BetteNoire Tue 01-Jul-08 12:36:09

You are dong exactly the right thing! grin

Your DH has spoken to MIL and made it clear that his wife is his first priority, as you absolutely should be.

You need to be polite, but put up with absolutely no crap.

If she starts with her emotional blackmail, say that she is being unreasonable, and terminate the conversation.

My MIL was a nightmare when we first got married.

After a few instances where she behaved like a spoilt brat, and I dealt with it in the same slightly amused way that I would deal with a 2 year old throwing their toys around, she realised that her outbursts didn't get anywhere.

My DH took a little longer than yours has to stand up to his mother - so you are both doing really well.

You are right, you need to deal with MILs unreasonable behaviour, or it will be swept under the carpet, and she will continue to be a pain.

You'll be fine as long as you and DH always show a united front. smile

RubySlippers Tue 01-Jul-08 12:38:03


You need to keep your distance and then some

I LOLOL at her begging her DS to say he felt soemthing for her -

her view of her relationship with your DH is so inappropriate it is hard to know where to begin

good for your DH for standing up to her

i don't think you can have a relationship with her whilst she behaves like this

BetteNoire Tue 01-Jul-08 12:38:17

Oh, and re the having children issue, it's another vain attempt for her to try and control your DH's life.
Ignore, ignore, ignore her.
If you do get pregnant, maybe get the scan picture made into a t-shirt for her birthday?
A great way to announce it! winkgrin

BetteNoire Tue 01-Jul-08 12:41:28

We have wedding photos of DH and I with our parents.
On the first we are all smiling; on the next MIL has grabbed hold of DH's arm and is gazing at him adoringly; on the third I am looking angrily at her hand out of the corner of my eye - and so is my mother! DH is just looking studiously at the camera, with a fixed grin on his face. grin

We have always said we will get them framed together and put them on the wall in the downstairs loo. grin

LivvyW Tue 01-Jul-08 12:42:45

Oh Dear, never been in that situation MIL lives abroad. But sympathies, she sounds like a nightmare.

I would make sure that your husband is going to support you in this battle. It sound like you could be in for a long haul. But you need to make sure that its NOT a battle. Keep it all as calm as possible. Rise above as much of it as you can. Earn your husbands respect by how well you deal with her difficult behaviour.

Get over what she said/did at the wedding. It's done and she's not going to apologise.
Even if she did, where does that get you?

Think long and hard about how you are going to manage this relationship in the long term. Perhaps you'll win her over eventually.
Good luck and congratulations on getting married.

NewlyMarried Tue 01-Jul-08 12:51:57

Haha! I LOVE the idea of getting a scan picture made into a t'shirt! That has really cheered me up lots and lots grin I swear I'm gonna do that!!!!

I really appreciate all the advice! I do have to stand my ground and I'm lucky hubby is supportive, I know it's so hard for him because he has never stood up to her before (he's 30). It's just so difficult when a person can't even admit that they are doing these things.

Does anyone think me and MIL might genuinely get along one of these days? Has anyone ever turned this bad type of relationship into a mutually respectful, good one? And, sorry for being selfish, one more question, how did you all lay down your boundaries?

BetteNoire Tue 01-Jul-08 12:59:16

Things did get a lot better when the DCs arrived.
It was easier for us to spend time in each others' company, as we had the children to focus on.

She is a good grandmother to them, and thinks a lot about them, which is good.

Oh, and the fact that we moved to the other end of the country after a few years helped no end too! grin

Now we stay at a nearby hotel twice a year, and we pop round for a few hours.

We also speak on the phone every couple of weeks or so.

I think she has a grudging respect for me now.

DH and I have been married for 13 years, and I ain't going anywhere! winkgrin

JessJess3908 Tue 01-Jul-08 13:04:47

Bette - please can you put those pics on your profile? grin

Also LOL at "begging him to tell her he still' feels something' for her"

All sounds very innapropriate, like she's his ex not his mum - very hard to know what to do when she won't even acknowledge her wierd behaviour. Although she hates the idea of you having kids now, I wouldn't be surprised obsess over them in a similar fashion...

WinkyWinkola Tue 01-Jul-08 14:26:58

Your post gave me the heebie jeebies, NewlyMarried. OMG.

What an odd woman. She's actually competing with you for her son's love. She doesn't want him to be happy with another woman.

Of course, she doesn't want you to have children because no doubt your DH will give them loads of love and attention and they will be his world, not her.

Truly disturbing behaviour.

Personally, I would keep well away from her. Never be alone with her because you don't know what nastiness she will cook up about you to report to your DH.

Also, with regards to your children. If the woman is unable to be pleasant to you and treat you like a human being and a good person as you say, then why on earth would you want her near your children? She slags you off to your DH. She will no doubt say bad things about you to your children and at the very very least, compete with you for their love and affection.

Do you live nearby? If so, move. If you don't live nearby, then set some very solid boundaries regarding visiting and behaviour because people like this will take the p*ss for as long as they are allowed.

Your MIL needs serious help. And by default, I think you and your DH will be put under an awful lot of pressure. Make sure you put you, your DH and any children you may have absolutely first.

deckchair Tue 01-Jul-08 14:56:59

Are you me? My mil virtually sits on my dh's knee when she comes over, gazes adoringly at him and hangs on his every word.
In our wedding pics, she's stood / sat closer to him than I am!
Plus she wears very short skirts and low cut tops.

You are very lucky to have a dh who understands. Work with him and try to establish some ground rules for a relationship for both of you and your mil.

PortAndLemon Tue 01-Jul-08 15:06:44

Look on it as practice for having a stroppy toddler, given that she's operating at that emotional level. Do as BetteNoire says; she knows what she's talking about.

A friend of mine had a nightmare MIL -- when they were getting married she refused to come to the wedding or let any of the groom's brothers or sisters go, she got several of the groom's ex-girlfriends to call him and try to persuade him not to go through with the wedding, she even called the minister who was going to be marrying them and tried to persuade him not to. Later they got on pretty well, because all the MIL's other children married people she liked/approved of even less...

cornsilk Tue 01-Jul-08 15:13:39

Oh my god what a fruitloop! LET'S SEE THE PICS!

2rebecca Tue 01-Jul-08 15:40:41

Sounds loopy, but I think distancing has to come from your husband. It will happen with time anyway, moving more than 10 miles away is always a good move with manipulative parents. If he puts in a few "mum stop embarrassing me" comments it should do the trick.
Overbearing mothers usually have dodgy relationships with their husbands. Sounds as though she is looking to her son for affection rather than her husband. How does FIL feel/ act about this?

eemie Tue 01-Jul-08 16:06:56

She sounds almost a carbon copy of my MIL and is following the same script.

She was hostile and resentful from the start. Used to muscle in between us - literally - if we were walking in park she'd push herself in between me and dh.

Her reaction to our relationship was that it was a loss for her. When dd arrived (her first and only grandchild) she ignored her, pretended to think she was a boy, and later complained that dh paid more attention to dd than to her.

It only improved when she was too disabled by strokes to be actively hostile - sorry.

The main thing is to protect your own new family and make sure she can't divide and rule - dh needs to spell out that these are his wishes, not just yours.

We stopped MIL visiting us, instead we visited her so that we were in control of when we arrived and left. It would have been unbearable otherwise.

Good luck!

eemie Tue 01-Jul-08 16:10:24

By the way, be prepared for the 'my life is in ruins - I wouldn't care if I died today - he's not my son any more' speech.

She may not say it to you or dh directly, more likely to someone who can be relied on to repeat it to you.

It will hurt less if you see it coming.

NewlyMarried Tue 01-Jul-08 16:33:04

Cornsilk - I'd love to show u the pics, then you'd all get a laugh but I feel I can't embarrass my hubby anymore than he is already by her behaviour

I am taking little bits of advice from everyone, I will defo make sure she is kept away from our house as much as possible, we live an hour away so that's not too hard to do.

Eemie - I am fully expecting the: 'my life is in ruins - I wouldn't care if I died today - he's not my son any more' speech tonight. Hubby was supposed to call her back last night when she had calmed down from her wailing, nobody loves me, fit. We talked about it and discussed that if he called her back then she would see that as being us backing down to her, making sure 'she' is ok, running to her playing victim etc. Hard tho it is for my hubby, she does not need consoling just now, she needs time out to think about herself and the possibilities she will face if she keeps this behaviour up any longer.

As for my FIL, he is lovely, such an easy going and genuine person, I've known him for years and he is just so nice. He gets no attention from her except criticism and her moaning about him. My hubby and his sis have been brought up to always regard their mother as higher/more important/better than their father and its so unfair because hubbys dad has always been a brill dad. He gets ignored, she talks right over him if he starts to say something, she belittles him in front of peole. On the phone last night, his dad just said he is 'used to it'. Damn shame, I really feel for him. I've always encouraged hubby to make more effort with his dad, calling for chats etc because his mother just sucks everyones attention and stamps her feet if anyone dares not to put her first EVERY time!

I am dreading the phone calls tonight.....esp as she has had time since last night to go around her sis and their 'small, close' family to gather more ammo to aim at me.... angry

whippet Tue 01-Jul-08 16:42:54

Sounds like my MIL - after our wedding she chose a 'lovely photo' from the collection as their memento of the day.... it had Her, FIL, DH and my two SILs, but yes... you've guessed it.... NOT me!

BetteNoire Tue 01-Jul-08 16:57:53

NewlyMarried - I think you and DH should both go out for the evening.

I know how you feel; waiting for her to kick off the next instalment of the saga.

MIL needs to know that you're not prepared to play her games.

Show her that her tantrums have no effect on how you live your life - even if that's not strictly true, as she's actually causing a lot of stress and unhappiness for you and your DH.

I'd advise going to the cinema - you have to switch your mobiles off in there. grin

geordieinscotland Tue 01-Jul-08 18:53:54

OMG you have a hellish MIL. But I am so pleased for you that your DH is on your side. Do hope it stays that way, and I hope you have hundreds of children really soon.

NewlyMarried Wed 02-Jul-08 11:27:45

Right BetteNoir, we went out last night and there was no missed calls, tonight we're going out for dinner with my dad (that always seems to bug her) and the next 2 nights hubby is working till 10pm and she NEVER calls when it's just me in the house (although I'm unsure if she knows his shifts this week), so I'm guessing we can put her off till at least Saturday. "If" she calls when he is out, I'm going to tell her I will not speak to her when he is not there and to call back when he is in (I need a witness when I talk to her)

Hubby and I talked last night and we are not going to call her to (in her eyes) console her. We think she is most likely not calling to create more emotional manipulation, eg, "obviously I'm not welcome to call" or "you don't want me anymore so I'm not calling where I'm not wanted" etc.

So, when she does call, and she will when her wee game doesn't get the attention it seeks, we are going to ask her if she understood any of what we said to her. If she still denies it, we are going to tell her to go away and think about it more and to call back when she is ready to talk about the problem.

We will not be inviting her here and we will not be going there either. Basically we are gonna try and make her realise that if this is how she acts, we are gonna distance ourselves - a lot. This is so hard for my hubby but he is doing really well.

I am desperate to solve this now or I am gonna have her on my ass for the next 20 years. I am hoping this new way of treating her will work?

NewlyMarried Thu 03-Jul-08 18:43:49

Sorry, I need a rant! Please excuse me, I feel better if i get it all out.

FIL (very nice man etc etc etc) called Hubbys mobile to say MIL is SO upset she hasn't slept for 2 days and has been sent home from her work as she is THAT upset! He said 'all this is coming from one side (ie, me!) and I'm not happy about it, if you can't come here and have a nice time, then don't come at all cos she can't handle this anymore'. We were in the car and the convo was on bluetooth so I could hear everything and the poor man sounded all nervous and everything. SHE would NEVER tell us not to go there cos her son is her life and I don't know if she was there when the convo took place, there wasn't any discernible wailing?!?!

Now, we have had NO communication from her since Mondays confrontation. I don't hold this against FIL cos honestly, he is just so nice and is obviously sticking up for her as her hubby, I understand that.

What is bugging me is that I think it is yet more manipulation on her part, playing for sympathy even more and taking the focus away from the issue at hand. Now FIL has been roped in and God knows who else. We didn't call her and i think cos she isn't getting the usual attention and emotional massage from hubby, she is maximising her grief more and more so that others will call and criticise us on her behalf (of course, only knowing her side of the story and not ours, making us look like f*cking bullies).

It has made both if us even more pi$$ed off with her. It's all about her and her bloody emotions, poor me, poor me, poor me and I'm about ready to lose the rag! If she wasn't so bloody horrible we wouldn't all be in this freekin position.....sorry, I'm mad angry

Eemie warned about this above but now it has happened. Sorry, I just had to rant or I'm gonna blow a fuse!!!! All she has to do is stop being a total cow ffs!!!

Does anyone think we are being too hard on this poor defenseless woman? angry

cocolepew Thu 03-Jul-08 18:51:52

No you're not being too hard on her, she's a loon. But you are being too soft on FIL. He's a grown man he shouldn't let her walk all over him, FFS .She probably put him up to the phone call. I speak from experience STAND YOUR GROUND

cornsilk Thu 03-Jul-08 18:55:43

What a cow! Good for you and your dh.

jenniebee Thu 03-Jul-08 19:16:05

Er no!you are not being too hard on her. Let her bloody sulk for a while and don't worry
about what she is saying to other people. She'll come round in time and learn to accept you even though you did 'steal' (this is what i did to my DH) her son.

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