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Why don't husbands and their fathers-in-law have power struggles over the wife/daughter?

(23 Posts)
jawjawnotwarwar Fri 19-Sep-08 23:07:45

Why isn't it that way round?

SpandexIsMyEnemy Sat 20-Sep-08 08:36:05

the man accepts he's not he alpha male until the older male has been pushed out/died, and each male is head of his house iycwim.

but women challenge the other females in the family all the time for be the 'alpha' mum esp when one has children and the older mother is trying to take over.

it's an animal thing

Bucharest Sat 20-Sep-08 11:39:59

I think the women who do it, (the hideous MIL thing for example) are so powerless deep down (like the school bully) the only way they can imagine they have control of their lives is through controlling other women. You don't tend to find it amongst women who are educated, have a career, have something for themselves outside of the family/the home. My MIL (southern Italian witch) is typical. Bullied her own daughters, all her daughters-in-law. She'll die a very bitter woman.

UnquietDad Sat 20-Sep-08 11:45:41

Because we don't think about such things. Life's too short.

HappyWoman Sat 20-Sep-08 12:46:06

I think all women like to feel the power of control over men and so when our sons 'leave' and give that power to another woman we the mil (btw i am not one yet - but of course i already know that there is not another woman out there as good as me grin so i sure i will be the mil from hell.) have to somehow take back as much control as we can.
The new woman in the sons life feels threatened and the mother also feels threatened.

I also think men accept that no.1 man in a womans life is daddywink. And actually are not that bothered, whereas woman seem to need to be told there are the best. iyswim.

So much for sisterly love eh?

bran Sat 20-Sep-08 12:59:12

I think it's because women are more likely to have grown up and have an adult relationship with their parents. Certainly my DH changes into a much more childlike personality when we stay with his mother, he doesn't behave as though he expects his mother to treat him as an adult so she doesn't. IMO he is much more responsible for the problems between MIL and myself than she is. Fortunately we only visit her once a year, and I'm not even going this year, so it's managable. I'm not totally sure that DH and I would still be married if we lived in the same country as her.

On the other hand if somebody needs to say something to my parents, then I am the one to say it. I don't expect DH to have to get involved in issues with my family so he has a fairly relaxed relationship with them (although it helps that they are not as bonkers and controlling as my MIL).

beanieb Sat 20-Sep-08 13:06:04

I think that sometimes it's the Daughter in law's problem rather than the MIL. Women find it hard to accept that their MIL's have a longer bond and history with their husbands/partners and often misinterpret what is perfectly normal behaviour from their mother in law, as interfering. Silly really as any daughter should be aware of the bond they may have with their own mother and should be accepting of the fact that man have that bond too.

lou031205 Sat 20-Sep-08 13:24:59

Actually, we do blush It drives me mad. My DH and Father have little struggles - all very low level, but Dad still thinks of me as HIS DAUGHTER (as does my mum).

I constantly have to make it clear that I am DH's wife, even nearly 7 years into our marriage with 2 children and another on the way. DH is a quiet guy, and doesn't say too much, so it is down to me to make it clear.

HappyWoman Sat 20-Sep-08 14:58:23

But thats just it - 'its still down to me to make it clear'

That is because there is a control issue isnt it?

I love my son and sorry but no woman will ever love him as completly as i do - if that makes me a which of a mother in law so be it (i am not one yet).

My h just accepts that my dad is still the number one man in my life (along with ds too).
Whereas i think most woman do not accept that mil is could still be important to their dh.

SpandexIsMyEnemy Sat 20-Sep-08 15:01:26

yes but the flip side to that is as a mother we know waht our sons are like as men/a person, but we DON'T know waht they're like as husband - a nice person can still be a shite husband - in which case you'd defend your son, but you'd get a struggle with the DIL.

HappyWoman Sat 20-Sep-08 17:11:33

so then we come back to the unconditional love arguement.

My dh was a shite one for a while - and whilst i expected his family to take his side is it still hard.

I will always love my son - even if he is a shite husband - and then the troubles will begin with the DIL.

I think as women we find it very hard to see love in differnt forms.
We often want all or nothing - the conflict between DIL and MIL is because neither woman is prepared to accecpt that there is a differnt 'love' - it is not a competition, and as woman we are not good at that.

Janos Sun 21-Sep-08 15:56:24

"I also think men accept that no.1 man in a womans life is daddy"

What? Not sure what you mean by this HappyWoman. I love my dad but he's certainly not the most important man in my life.

Janos Sun 21-Sep-08 16:00:02

Also, I have a son and would hate to be some overbearing mil. Of course you never stop loving your children. I can't imagine not loving DS, ever.

But, thing is....and I don't want to be offensive here, so choosing words carefully..unless there is a very warped family set up then mum and son don't have the same relationship as son and wife/partner.

StarlightMcKenzie Sun 21-Sep-08 16:19:22

Message withdrawn

hecate Sun 21-Sep-08 16:32:07

I see it quite differently. When (if) my sons get married, their wife becomes No1 and I step back, and if they put me before their wife, I'd wonder where I'd gone wrong raising them.

I am their mother through an accident of birth - I love them, god knows I do and I'd die for them, but they didn't choose me. They will go out and choose a wife. That makes her special.

When your child chooses a mate then everything changes. They have set up a new unit and you are not in the middle of it and I think problems occur when the mother doesn't accept that.

Janos Sun 21-Sep-08 16:39:12

Yes hecate I thinks that's very well put.

I think this sort of thing (power struggles, interfering etc) occurs because mil feels frustrated, unhappy, miserable for whatever reason, or doesn't have anything outside the home (please note this is NOT a jab at SAHMs) and has problems 'letting go' of her DC who she thinks of as 'hers'.

Hopefully if I ever become a mil (DS is 3 so plenty time yet) that my DIL could be a friend. That's what I'd like really.

Bluebutterfly Sun 21-Sep-08 16:47:15

Unconditional love and unconditional acceptance of poor behaviour by our grown up offspring are not one and the same thing, are they? Forgive me as my ds is still a little boy, but even now he does things that I do not love, even though I love him. If he behaved badly towards a perfectly nice wife as an adult would I give her a hard time for it? I hope not!

Bluebutterfly Sun 21-Sep-08 16:48:17

Well put hecate. Ditto what you said...

Peachy Sun 21-Sep-08 16:51:17

I think men do have power struggles, they just dont come on here to post smile- does anyone remember the old Harry Enfield sketch with the interfering FIL? I know of a few cases: one where Dad would only allow daugter (bizarrely complicit but her sister died young) to marry on the grounds that fiance had to join family business. They live in Dad's house on an agreement of monthly payments and the inhetit it (parents live elsewhere).

Hubby now wants to leave but FIL owns his arse and he knows it! He cant even get a work rerference without his FIL!

Now me (as a mum of 4 boys who has severe mil problems herself), I believe in actively addressing this! Each week I make them watch 'dont tell the bride', offering instruction on which women are suitable DIl and which now. Then when they do marry completely te wrong person (well one of them is bound to) I will just sit back and keep out of it until I pick up the pieces

but not interfere

never interfere

rant at the dh that that son-stealing ne'er do well is coming round but when she turns up grin, be nice and give chocolate cake


TheHedgeWitch Sun 21-Sep-08 18:41:16

Message withdrawn

ja9 Sun 21-Sep-08 18:45:58

very interesting thread!

DanJARMouse Sun 21-Sep-08 18:53:58

Very interesting!

My DH knows my Dad is my number 1 man (along with DS) and luckily DH and my dad get on like best mates!

MIL - well dont have to see her if I dont want to so solves that one!

There isnt a power struggle over anything in my house, we all know where we stand!

StayFrosty Sun 21-Sep-08 18:57:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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