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Do you tell your MIL when you don't agree with her, or just nod your head?

(54 Posts)
CatMandu Sun 21-Sep-08 20:40:54

MIL acts as if we get on brilliantly and in some ways we do, but she is very old fashioned and right wing and I'm quite the opposite. I've been finding it hard over recent months to keep nodding and listening to tales of events or thoughts that I simply don't agree with. This makes me feel very uncomfortable, like I'm not being true to myself. For example she told a story of a friend of the family who confessed to her that he was gay when he was in his teens and she told him that was fine, but to stop acting camp and stop dressing gay and he'd be welcome in the house. Now I think this is a terrible way to respond, but sat just listening.

I think I can assume that I'm not the only DIL who's in this position and I wonder if I ought to be more honest. Would it be better if I said what I really thought and therefore be myself or is it better for general family relations to keep quite?

somersetmum Sun 21-Sep-08 20:44:51

nod nod nod

anyfucker Sun 21-Sep-08 20:46:03

I have an opinionated alpha-female MIL.

Family relations are much smoother when I just keep my gob shut.

The couple of times over the years when I stood up to her ended up being a complete disaster for lots of reasons.

I have perfected the art of looking blank or gently steering the conversation onto more neutral ground so that I don't actually agree with her misguided rantings IYSWIM.

You won't change 'em.

happychappy Sun 21-Sep-08 20:46:04

I have to but she's just left having stayed with us for 10 days. Lots of ealy nights. I made her cry on the second day opps!

singyswife Sun 21-Sep-08 20:47:13

I used to keep quiet but now I dont and we have a fantastic relationship. Go out every sunday, go on holiday together, have pamper evenings together. I just tell her when I dont agree with her. Stops me feeling like a hipocrite(spelling?) for nodding.

pgwithnumber3 Sun 21-Sep-08 20:49:40

I am very lucky with my MIL, she is like a friend and we have a good laugh together BUT she was very jealous of my relationship with her beloved son when we first met and it took us having to fall out with her after she was rude at our wedding for her to realise that she stood no chance of getting in our way. Personally I take no shit off anyone but I understand when people just nod along to save an argument.

MrsMattie Sun 21-Sep-08 20:50:48

I nod more and more these days. She is old and is never going to change her opinions. If she is rude, or if it is a question of parenting my child, I will say something. Otherwise, I just nod, smile, say 'mmm' a lot.

Califrau Sun 21-Sep-08 20:51:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CatMandu Sun 21-Sep-08 20:53:19

I don't think I'll change her views and nor am I arrogant enough to think I should, but I feel that I'm passing myself off as being someone I'm not.

pgwithnumber3 Sun 21-Sep-08 20:55:01

You are entitled to an opinion as much as she is and imo, they respect you more if you are not just a nodding dog.

BuwchBywiog Sun 21-Sep-08 20:58:19

oh god mine wouldnt respect me for disagreeing with her she'd try to talk me round to agreeing so its much easier to nod, smile and pretend I agree from the offset and then carry on doing things my way ... wink

traceybath Sun 21-Sep-08 20:58:30

I get on well with MIL but if she says something i don't agree with especially if its an old-fashioned view i just say 'good lord - you can't say that now' and make a joke of it.

They think i'm funny and being amusing but i'm not and it does make her think about some things that aren't appropriate.

Some stuff is generational though. I wouldn't be rude though i would definitely do it in a light hearted manner.

IAteDavinaForDinner Sun 21-Sep-08 20:59:26

Depends on the MIL (and the DP/DH!).

I nod lots, but then mostly it's not a disagreement as much as a looking at things from a different perspective/on the basis of different evidence thing.

It also depends on the subject. If we were to have wildly different opinions on how to discipline my child, for example, there would be words with anyone, MIL or not. If it was about, for example, whether a Milky Bar is a nutritious breakfast for a child who she doesn't see as much of as she'd like and she loves dearly and delights in spoiling then nod, FGS!

Battle-picking is all you can do - and particularly for distant MILs, surely family relations are more important than making it clear you find her opinions shite?

WinkyWinkola Sun 21-Sep-08 21:04:16

Depends how important it is.

My DD has a bad cough at the moment and against my wishes, MIL keeps trying to shove cough mixture down her throat - cough mixture for 6+ year olds. I say something quite crossly about that because if I don't, she'll take it as license to do what she likes. She can be quite arrogant about my home and taking decisions for my children.

If my PIL are racist, sexist or homophobic then I tell them that those views are not acceptable in my home or in front of my children. I'll tell them that. I don't think one should keep quiet when people espouse those kinds of views whoever it is. I'd tell the Queen to be quiet if she came out with that kind of claptrap.

But with any other cobblers they come out with, I can't be bothered about. It doesn't affect me or my DCs then let them bleat on about it.

LackaDAISYcal Sun 21-Sep-08 21:11:57

My MIL has the habit of being cutting whilst actually being all smiley about things which maddens me no end, but yes I do just bite my tongue...then rant about her to DH. He says that it's "just Mum" and she's "always been like that" (yes, because she is allowed to get away with it!)

I've only ever seen him speak sternly to her once in over ten years and then she refused to talk to him for the rest of our visit and it was over something minor like he asked her to step back and give me some space when I was changing a very very shitty DD (with diahorrea) and she was leaning over us cooing at DD and shit was getting everywhere as I couldn't see what I was doing. She acted all wounded and harumphed about the place for over an hour. We didn't even get offered a cup of tea!

When we announced I was pregnant with DC3, her first response was "I can't have six grandchildren" (DHs brother has three already)...yes like it's all about you hmm

Her selective memory thinks I just made that up and she refuses to acknowledge that she actually said it!

anyhoo i tend to just bite my tongue, but if it's really bad then I will say something.....which is why she doesn't like me, lol!

WinkyWinkola Sun 21-Sep-08 21:28:16

Lacka, I know exactly what you mean about being all smiley and jokey but actually being really cutting. It's such a powerful way to be a biatch. And it makes you feel helpless to generate a response because you'll just look like an arse.

But maybe just feel sorry for someone who behaves that way because they must be pretty unhappy to feel the need to be like that? Oh, and keep your distance. They lose out massively in the end.

ActingNormal Sun 21-Sep-08 21:49:21

My MIL is quite racist, poor people-ist, and a bit homophobic. She also said "I think it is very wrong not to hit children"!!!! The things she says are often so outrageous that I used to think she was joking just to try to make us all laugh. I thought this for years til DH told me she was being serious! I do feel I can say what I think though and she doesn't get angry with me or reject me. I usually laugh at her and say something like "I don't believe you just said that!" and then say my opinion in as non-confrontational way as I can eg. "I can't see anything wrong with people being gay, they aren't hurting anyone".

When it is about children I really feel I MUST be a bit firmer eg when she said about hitting I had to say "No, hitting children is completely wrong" and when she was once going on about how you should pull back young boy's foreskins when you wash them I was horrified in case she thought about doing it to my DS if she bathed him so I had to say "No, you shouldn't do that, it is an old fashioned thing, doctors now say that you should not do this and it can damage them". I don't often stand up for myself but sometimes I've panicked that she might do something with my kids that I really don't want her to and it has made me speak out!

LackaDAISYcal Sun 21-Sep-08 21:52:30

We do keep our distance most of the time, but then when they do babysit for us, we get "DD has been really good you know, which is surprising as we're like strangers to her". Cue me raising eyes heavenward...especially as recently they they see her once a fortnight and if they don't see her, it's because they are too busy with the other three grandchildren who are on their doorstep, literally, every day and we have to make an appointment!

<realises how bitter that sounds blush>

pudding25 Sun 21-Sep-08 22:15:46

I get on very well with mil and tell her exactly what I think. I have no qualms about telling her that I totally disagree with what she is saying. DH is good as he always agrees with me and backs me up. She can drive me mad sometimes but we both have a go.

I am not the sort of person who can sit there and bite my tongue if close friends or family say something I disagree with.

BroccoliSpears Sun 21-Sep-08 22:22:13

I used to just smile and nod, and our relationship was rather distant and strained.

When we had children I realised that I couldn't just smile and nod any more (happy to let her ride roughshod over me, but will stand up for my children to anyone) and we get on much better for it. I'm actually fond of the old bat and I think she likes me too.

Sometimes though I do have to imagine taking a swing at her with a baseball bat and I breath a calming, almost yogic, sigh of oneness as I watch her head go sailing over next door's hedges, an expression of surprise frozen on her face.

Seabright Sun 21-Sep-08 22:51:07

I nod and smile less now. I'm not sure if I'm less tolerant or just braver. I'll tolerate elderly relatives comments up to a point, but then I feel I have to say something. I'm not rude to them, just pointing out the error of their ways!

What also annoys me is the general theory that old people are nice. No, they're not. Some are, some aren't. You don't get to 60 or 70 being a complete PITA and then have a personality transplant. Grrr. Rant over!

colie Sun 21-Sep-08 23:06:11

It depends. Mine is the type that will say black is white. She can be very opinionated on some things that I just laugh at now, she sometimes laughs too when I take the p out of her for them. According to my mil, smoking isn't a contributing factor to lung cancer, there is no danger in passive smoking, it doesn't make you die younger etc..... hmm Some of her comments are just crazy

HelpMNINeedYou Mon 22-Sep-08 01:19:38

I would nod along while shouting in my head 'shut up you loon'. I do this with my MIL and I only give my opinion on something she is talking about if I am specifically asked for my opinion.

Needless to say MIL now never asks my opinion grin

Pinkyminkee Mon 22-Sep-08 01:31:03

my MIL is very deaf, very sweet but would never pause for breath long enough for anyone to disagree with her anyway!
My mum, however, sounds very much like a scarier version of Lacks's MIL! grin

ninedragons Mon 22-Sep-08 02:46:19

My FIL has some truly bizarre theories about why global warming doesn't exist.

I grit my teeth and go mmmmmmmm, anyone want a cup of tea?

Then when he's gone, I ring my mum (a scientist) and rant to her about what a fucking loon he is.

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