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if your relationship with MIL has broken down so much you no longer talk....

(22 Posts)
totalmisfit Fri 10-Jul-09 10:06:20

... how does this affect your relationships with other family members? Do you feel you can attend weddings/funerals/birthdays/christmas events when you know she'll be present? How do you cope if so?

Speaking for myself I feel incredibly awkward around dh's other relatives - uncles, aunts, cousins, his grandfather etc as none of them really know the whole story, at least not from my perspective. I feel like they must blame me for the fact MIL no longer sees dh or dd and probably won't see her new grandchild unless she has a radical personality overhaul of some kind.

I've posted about her loopy behaviour on here countless times but to summarise, she reacted strangely to news i was pregnant with dd, kept announcing loudly that she was 'too young to be a grandmother' (at nearly 60) and the next thing i knew she was trying to convince dh to leave me. Didnt speak to her again till i was 8 months pregnant when she'd had a 'miraculous' change of heart and suddenly decided she did want to be a grandmother. (no apology, no contrition for how she had treated me though).During this time, and shortly after dd's birth, her behaviour towards me became incredibly controlling, she kept snatching dd from my arms and demanding to know whether 'her mummy had been feeding her properly'.

Obviously, all this stuff didn't exactly endear her to me, and as dd got older she kept doing weird things whenever she'd visit, like insisting on giving dd a bath when she'd already had one that day (much to mine and dh's protestations) and finally refusing to let us reschedule a visit when the sale of our flat fell through when we were desperate to move due to work, and we couldn't face seeing anyone, let alone her.

She drove 200 miles to stand at the end of our road on her mobile, demanding that dh 'fulfil his obligations as her son'. When we stood our ground she cut us all out and called my mother to complain about my 'behaviour'. That was a year ago.

Because of all this, i'm very glad i haven't seen her for a year. Short of a frank and full apology and a total change of heart and attitude from her, i don't think there's anything she could do which would make me want to have anything to do with her. But it leaves me with a number of problems: the guilt i feel about dh not seeing his mother (i keep saying he should/could go and visit her if he wants to, but he says he wouldn't want to go without us anyway, and he has his own issues with her), the guilt i feel about dd's great grandfather (mil's father) not having as many opportunities to see her as he would (lives a long way away and spends a lot of time with mil), and having to avoid events where she's attending.

Its' also affected my relationship with my own mother to some extent, for reasons i don't fully understand. I feel that she judges me for not being able to make this relationship work and it's another example of me failing, somehow.

Lemonylemon Fri 10-Jul-09 10:56:59

I'd have a very frank conversation with your own mum, for starters. You've taken on board how you think your mum is feeling - and you might actually be off target in what you're thinking about that. It could be that she's indignant on your behalf about what's happened.

As for your MIL's Dad, is there no way you can schedule to visit him and completely bypass your MIL?

As for your MIL, she sounds like a total fruitloop which is borne out by the fact that your DH has his own issues with her as well as the issues between you and her.

To be honest, I wouldn't even try to re-establish a relationship with her - she's not going to change, and it won't work. Just stop feeling guilty about it. It's not your fault.....

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 10-Jul-09 11:06:20

Guilt is a useless emotion; you only feel this because at heart you are a reasonable person. Your toxic MIL has had plenty of opportunity but has chosen to live the way she does. These people are never amenable to any kind of reasoned argument - its their way or no way. Again these people never apologise for their actions, let alone take any responsibility for them. You, and for that matter your husband, did not make her thus. You did not "fail" your MIL at all, its actually the other way around.

Your H not wanting to have contact with his Mum either speaks volumes as well. He's had a lifetime of her; doe she actually think she has some sort of personality disorder?.

I would talk to your Mum; I would think she is glad that this MIL of yours is out of your life.

The best thing you can do is make a good life for yourselves in your own family unit.
BTW you may want to read "Toxic Inlaws" written by Susan Forward as that may be helpful to you as well.

gettingagrip Fri 10-Jul-09 11:58:44

Have a look at this site

She sounds like an NPD sufferer to me.

Sadly no contact is the only way forward.

mampam Fri 10-Jul-09 12:26:05

totalmisfit I feel for you I really do. We are in a similar situation with dh's parents. The long and short of it is that they hate me and have tried their hardest (and failed miserably) to get me out of dh's life. They seem to be under the illusion that dh will have a relationship with them that I am not a part of in any way, shape or form. This would be absolutely fine with me and DH if it weren't for the fact that they won't even so much as be civil to me. They're ok to me in front of DH but as soon as his back is turned..........! Do they not realise that DH and I do talk to each other?!! Think they've cooked their own goose there!!

We too avoid family events (the last one being a funeral and MIL wouldn't even acknowledge DH because I was there with him), as it get's really awkward for us and other people. I recently met one of DH's cousins and whilst she was really nice, I still had at the back of my mind 'I wonder what she's been told about me?, Is she scrutinising me on the basis of what she's been told?'. I felt awful for DH as we sat there listening to his cousin, who was staying with his parents, how they'd taken her here, there and everywhere. How they'd stayed up late getting drunk, laughing and chatting. I just thought 'how sick is it, that they will do that with their niece but they won't make an effort for their son who lives 5 miles away from them'.

Dh's parents have got his paternal grandparents onside resulting in lots of hounding phone calls, letters, shitty emails from them. All of which blame me for everything and one letter even had a section addressed to me asking to 'spare some of dh's love for the rest of his family'.

I too believe that a genuine sincere apology and a personality change is what is needed to change this situation but seeing as it's been 2 years since DH has spoken to them, I really don't think it's going to happen.

I have 2DC from a previous marriage, who FIL has slagged off (I know they hate me but he didn't have to take it out on my DC) and now DH and I are TTC. DH is an only child so they won't have any other grandchildren. At the end of the day who is missing out? Us for not having such Toxic people in our lives or them for missing out on their son and possible future grandchildren?

Like Attila says do not feel guilty, you have nothing to be guilty for. I think you really need to talk to your mum, I bet she doesn't judge you at all.

xx

Banjofanjo Sat 11-Jul-09 00:02:29

Until I joined mumsnet and started Reading all your stories, I had thought I was the only one with problems like this.
Met dh when I was only 18 and PIL was fine until we decided to get married, then all hell broke loose. I believed for years that I was a terrible person because HE said I was.
Now, we maintain a dignified distance and don't rise to his crap.
I realise now that he suffers from NPD. Doesn't change a thing as far as I am concerned, he's still a twunt!

womblingfree Sat 11-Jul-09 01:13:49

I have a difficult relationship with my MIL, although it is going OK at the moment on the whole, and just wanted to say don;t feel guilty - as other people have said she has chosen to behave in a manner that has brought this situation about.

Also be grateful your DH supports you as mine will not stand up to his mum regarding anything (I believe he did have a word with her after a particularly nasty verbal assault from her last year, but that's probably only the 2nd time in our 13 yr relationship).

We went out for a family lunch at the wknd and she had a pop at me for something I was doing with DD and my BIL (DH's younger bro)actually told her where to get off and said I should stand up to her!!!

TheYearOfTheCat Sat 11-Jul-09 01:32:38

What is NPD?

I too have a difficult relationship with my MIL. She has invited us for dinner this weekend, and I genuinely would rather poke sticks in my eyes.

It's her way or no way, and as far as I am concerned, I'll have no way then, thanks very much.

I need to bite my tongue though, because although DH has his own issues with MIL, I don't want to add to them.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sat 11-Jul-09 07:35:28

NPS is Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

A useful website on this is below:-
www.halcyon.com/jmashmun/npd

HarryB Sat 11-Jul-09 08:35:20

Another one here that's had a difficult relationship with the MiL, but no way as bad as the OPs. Mine was more of a power struggle in that MiL seemed to think that my DS was hers and was quite disgruntled when we didn't involve her in everything. She made me feel like an utterly shit mother at a crucial time when I should have been bonding with DS - grabbing him off me, not giving him back when he cried - just like the OP. I will never forgive her; I loathe her, and always will.

Having said that, I had to take a step back to go forward IYSWIM. I stopped fighting her and reintroduced her into our life, but on my terms. She babysits DS once a week now and it is working out ok - she knows she isn't welcome unless it's prearranged. If she wants to pop round, she calls first. I tell her how I want her to do things with DS and I tell her "no" when I disagree with her. She knows that I have grown more confident as a mum and that I am not scared of her.

I still despise her but I am living with it rather than letting my hatred of her take over my life. The saddest thing out of all of this is that I lost a bit of respect for DH. I have had to sort all this out myself just because he didn't have the backbone to challenge her at the start.

womblingfree Sat 11-Jul-09 09:23:50

HarryB - really feel for you as I am in similar situation with DH - get more support from BIL who has good relationship with her but struggled with her in his teens as he was the only one of her 3 kids to stand up to her.

She is OK at the mo so am just making the most of it, but have a feeling things may blow in the not too distant future.

kimanaaaaaaaaaaan Sat 11-Jul-09 09:28:07

I too have a terrible relatioship with MIL. We haven't spoken for a year, the last time was at her mothers funural when she caused a massive argument and actually told me to hand my 8 wk old baby to DH so she could fight me.

The woman has serious control issues and wants/needs her family around her all the time. She seemed unable to grasp the concept that DH may want to spend time with just dd and I and when he tried explining this to her she said 'but I am your family. She isn't lonely, she's married and has has a daughter who still lives at home at the age of 36.

When she realised I didn't intend to spend every minute of my life in her company she has tried every trick in the book to split us up. This includes telling DH that I was cheating on him and physical violence.

As a result she has missed out on our wedding and hasnt seen dd since she was 8 wks (she's now 19 months)

I feel guilty on behalf of DH and DD but I know how much trouble she can cause and I'm not willing to allow that back in my life. DH knows he can go and see her whenever he wants with no hasssle from me, but I will not have her in my house. She is no role model for dd. DH chooses not to see her.

It does cause problems with family events but by choosing to stay away from MIL we knew we would be shut out from the rest of the family as MIL holds an iron tight grip over family functions. We accept this.

I do worry about trying to explain this to dd when she is older

kimanaaaaaaaaaaan Sat 11-Jul-09 09:34:15

*over a year*

babybugs Sat 11-Jul-09 13:45:29

hi, am really stuggling with my pil am not sure I can spend the rest of my life dealing with these people, i am 33 weeks pregnant with number 2 have been in premature labour and do not need this stress please help

screamingabdab Sat 11-Jul-09 14:26:05

gettingagrip : that link is interesting. I would have definitely said, reading OPs post that her MIL has a personality disorder

babybugs you poor thing. You sound desperate. I am sure you'll get support here. Maybe start your own thread ?

HarryB Sat 11-Jul-09 14:59:24

Babybugs, more than ever you need to shut them out until you are ready to deal with them again. The only thing that matters is you and your baby. Don't answer the phone, door, anything. Is your DH/DP supportive?

TheYearOfTheCat Sat 11-Jul-09 22:32:06

We just got electric gates installed this week. Perfect for those annoying in-laws. grin

womblingfree Mon 13-Jul-09 09:33:40

Bloody hell! Think DH has NPD tendencies as well as MIL - hey ho!

lighthouse Mon 13-Jul-09 13:22:37

I am a full supporter of anti in law people.

We have just bought a newer car (diesl, cheap to run low tax etc..) drove to MIL last weekend in it to take her to see her brother and when we got to her house she came out and said "my god, you have exchanged one gas guzzler for another"

Spiteful and typical, the selfish cow wasn't complaining when it got her to Manchester and back. She and FIL are divorced, he is evil too, to the point that I haven't spoken to him for over a year, for ignoring DD 5 when he fell out with DH last year, no birthday card for her. I stopped her from seeing him until DH begged and pleaded with me to relent after he had made it up with him.

What is it about IL and why do they have to be such arseholes! exscuse my french but it makes me F furious!!

mampam Mon 13-Jul-09 15:01:53

lighthouse, I too wonder why Inlaws have to be such arseholes. What do they really hope to achieve from their behaviour? All that seems to be achieved is they inevitably alienate their sons/daughter inlaws and miss out on their grandchildren too.

anna18 Tue 14-Jul-09 16:30:10

well mine started off on teh wrong foot years ago by telling my partner while having dinner at our place that 'he should be employing young attractive girls' right in front of me. humph,

she has continally bull - shi**ted about things like me delibertly not opening the door to her (when in fact I had a screaming baby and did not hear it etc etc.

the conclusion i have made is that no one will ever be good enough for her DS....as is prob the case for many of the MIL's out there!

blahdiblahblah Tue 14-Jul-09 17:39:27

Wow- our MILs are almost identical!
She was almost bearable before I became pregnant - well actually she was a PITA but we dealt with it even though it was emotionally draining.
She also did not want to be a "granny" and I saw her pulling a face when a friend of mine asked her if she was excited about becoming a grandmother! Then a few months into the pregnancy her behaviour was becoming more and more radical to the point where DH told her he wasnt prepared to put up with her demanding behaviour. Shortly after that she wrote me a horrendous e-mail accusing me of all sorts of things and blaming me for all her problems. I think she was hoping DH would see the error of his ways and dump me. Whilst pregnant. Nice.

ANyway we cut all contact with her then.
DS is now 3 years and 6 months ago she wrote to me apologising (but not what for) and wanting to reconnect. I have felt guit over this, because now I feel like the instigator, but I decided not to get back in touch. I just cant face havin gher back in my life. She e-mails DH from time to time ad it trying to worm her way back in his affection, but he is not interested.

I agree with the others: dont feel guilty. It is all a power game, and once you concede she will feel like she has the upper hand and it will all start over again.

Hope I dont sound too bitter?!?!?

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