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Massive blowout with MIL

(48 Posts)
Brozzer Thu 28-Jul-05 18:07:38

I know MIL issues aren't rare on this site but I wondered if anyone had been in a similar situation...

Last week I exploded at my MIL for the first time having buttoned it for 16 mths since my ds was born.
It all came out - her awful pushiness at the birth and insistence to see the newborn in hospital even though I'd said no and was in a dreadful state, bringing her boyfriend whom I had met twice with her
- inviting herself to our house the first night the baby left the hosp even though I'd said no to 'help'. She actually slept in the same room as the baby and fed him in the night.
- subsequent pressure to see the baby every 2 weeks with bossy demands of dates in diaries and much hassling to confirm
- pressure to always bring the baby to her even though she is an hour and a half away and we don't have a car
- crying to my dp that she felt let down when we had to change visit plans at the last minute
- snide comments about how 'the younger generation' don't handle birth very well etc etc

I told she had put unbearable pressure on her son and myself, that I wasn't a 'rent-a-womb'and we couldn't always facilitate her demands to see the grandson. She was astonished and very upset and is now not talking to us. Although I know I'm right and it had to come out, I still feel really guilty for hurting her feelings and not handling it better.

Does anyone have any thoughts?!

Mytwopenceworth Thu 28-Jul-05 18:18:02

this is the problem when you hold it in - instead of being able to be assertive and tactful, you blow your top like a volcano!!!! (im a bugger for it, resentment festers away but i want to keep the peace so i dont say anything then something happens and its the straw that broke the camels back and KABOOM!!)

you did the right thing to tell her how you feel. now she knows she has two choices, to respect it and be in your life, or to sulk forever and not see her family. she'll come round.

from now, it will be easier to just say no when she is trying to make you do something you dont want to.

if i were you, i would wait for her to make contact. i also wouldnt apologise for the outburst!!

CarolinaMoon Thu 28-Jul-05 18:23:04

What does your dp think? Is he close to his mum?

Is she the kind of person who'll come round eventually?

Don't think you've got any reason to feel guilty, she sounds like a right PITA.

gigglinggoblin Thu 28-Jul-05 18:37:10

i wish i had done that! dont apologise for what you said or she will think it was all said in anger and therefore not true. if you want to calm things then you could apologise for upsetting her, making it clear that what you said is still true. she will come round, and this will probably make things 100 times better

Brozzer Thu 28-Jul-05 18:45:59

Thanks MTPW - I just feel gutted that we couldn't have sat down a year ago and calmly asked her to back off a bit and wait for invites instead of always calling the shots.

We had gone away with her and her new husband for a short break when the row happened(I did this cos my dp wanted to, I don't want to holiday with my MIL)and she was delighted to spend four days with the baby.
We already had an arrangement that she was having him for another four days in a month's time so we can go away.
I thought that was enough access for the time being but she curtly informed me that she and her husband 'wanted to take ds out for some days in August so we really need to sort out the diaries.' No question of 'Would it be OK if we.../tell us what dates suit you'. The arrogance drives me crazy.
When I tried to bat her off saying we'd look at dates on our return home she kept going on and on about the need to sort out diaries. I said (and so did my dp) that we're not really diary people cos we're a bit spontaneous (cos of creative industry jobs) but she got snappy and basically said 'that doesn't help me.'
Finally when her husband, who I don't know that well, sneered at me to 'get organised, love', I just stood up and walked out.

They have since denied being condescending, I think it's incredible.

I think they see plenty of the baby and we can only do so much. My dp supports me now after months and months of arguing but is clearly depressed that we've come to blows.


Brozzer Thu 28-Jul-05 18:51:15

CM - they've been really close until this awful incident.
He's only very recently acknowledged that she is quite selfish and bossy and said the relationship between all of us needs sorting out.
We nearly split up after the birth cos he so ardently defended her right to do, well, pretty much anything, whilst I was saying she is being unsisterly and pushy. He now bitterly regrets the rows we had.
I think she will hold it against me forever - she is a hard woman, despite occasional bursts of nice (memories of those make me feel awful).
Feel so depressed about it.

CarolinaMoon Thu 28-Jul-05 19:11:32

I agree with gigglinggoblin - why not give a little while to calm down then say you're sorry she's upset but she can't carry on the way she has been.

Can you and her and your dp sit down together and sort out the ground rules? Maybe now she'll be able to see that she's been putting too many demands on you and just chill out a bit.

Pinotmum Thu 28-Jul-05 19:19:44

She will come round if only to see the baby. Don't get depressed as it sounds like you were provoked. She now knows the boundaries. Why do some mil do this take over thing. It is not helpful or appreciated but then it is not done to be helpful it is done to be important imho. My mil is truely a PITA as well so I really feel for you. I haven't blown yet but then I can't even bring myself to answer her half the time and she doesn't notice cos she doesn't stop taliking long enough to breath

Catsmother Thu 28-Jul-05 19:58:36

Good grief ... if I'd had the provocation you've had, I'd have blown long before now. Think you're amazing to have kept it in for so long and also, that you feel guilty for what's happened. Think that in itself shows what a nice person you are !

What you've described goes beyond doting grandma behaviour - it appears to be, like you said, very arrogant and rude, and also rather controlling.

You've said your bit - I'd leave it now for her to contact you on your terms, i.e. with a bit of consideration and politeness.

leahbump Thu 28-Jul-05 20:03:07

I too have a PITA MIL- and have been biting my lip for years!!

I would do as a few others have suggested and wait for her to come to you- on your terms. She will need time to cool down and if either you or your dh go to her she may well claim victory and not actually change that much!

AT the end of the day she will want to see her grandchild....and probably won't go that long without before she approaches you.

Whatever you do tho...make sure you and dh have a united front or it'll end up being you whose the evil unacceptable one whose stole her son and grandchild (that's how I get treated by my MIL and dh has only just started to stand up to her!)


Brozzer Sat 30-Jul-05 15:55:41

Thanks to everyone for advice/support.

My dp has spoken to her a couple of times cos she's had a minor operation and has said he thinks everything will be fine.

She hasn't said anything about the row - or me.

I think it will be some months before we talk again.

Nightmare but one not started by myself!!!!!!!!

spidermama Sat 30-Jul-05 16:36:28

Wow! I feel for you brozzer. It sounds like it needed to be said. Perhaps now you can re-build the relationship more on your terms.

I had a similar experience when I was 8 months pregnant with my MIL. That was 7 months ago and things are just staring to recover now.

YOu need to talk to her and tell her some positive things about herself but hold on to your needs too.

It's amazing how many mothers still feel the need to be in charge of someone else's baby.

Good luck.

spidermama Sat 30-Jul-05 16:37:19

By the way, perhaps your dh needs to support you more where his mum is concerned to try to avoid these build ups.

shhhh Sun 31-Jul-05 21:53:48

I agree with spidermama...I feel for you I honestly do, I also admire you for standing up to your MIL (I know it's hard). Keep to your guns and at the end of the day it's your MIL's loss and not yours. Good luck xx

Brozzer Mon 01-Aug-05 09:33:25

Spidermama - what happened with you and your MIL?

My dp has confessed that his mother doesn't appear to think she's done anything wrong. Oh Lord.

If she doesn't say sorry for being insensitive at the birth and for putting pressure on us I honestly don't know how we can rebuild a relationship. If anyone has fallen out with their MIL irreparably please post!!! I can't believe it could actually come to this when we are all intelligent people.

I don't want this horrible negative relationship in my life.

piglit Mon 01-Aug-05 11:12:09

Brozzer - my dh and I fell out with m-i-l in May and it's been absolute bliss ever since. No pestering phone calls, no demands to visit, no snidey comments at the way we bring up ds (9 months) and no snidey comments about me, my family, dh's siblings etc. I was so worried when it first happened but luckily it was dh who lost it with her so I could sit back a bit on the sidelines (I've had issues with this woman ever since I met dh - she is poisonous).

As for her saying she doesn't know what she's done wrong I really wouldn't be surprised if she's saying this to her son but don't pay it any attention. My m-i-l got all upset when we fell out with her and tried to blame us but that didn't really bother or surprise us - her approach to life has always been to criticise people who challenge her. Some people are just like that.

I'm sure things with my m-i-l will work out somehow but I'm not in any hurry to re-establish communication. You say you don't want this awful relationship in your life so look on this as a positive thing. Either things will work themselves out on your terms or else you won't have anything to do with her in which case your life will be much easier. I know it sounds harsh to talk about not seeing her again but please don't underestimate the damage these awful relationships can do to you. The best bit of advice I can give you is to make sure dp is on side. I'm not suggesting that he has to make a choice between you and his mother but you will feel much stronger if he is backing you in this.

Good luck.

spidermama Mon 01-Aug-05 11:22:14

Brozzer, as the kids grandma and your dh's mum, you are lumbered with her. I'd always rather make some kind of relationship because she's a close blood relative now whether you like it or not.

I finally blew up at my MIL when she turned up at my door with her bags even though I'd said she couldn't visit yet. (I was 8 months preg).

It turned out my dh had encouraged her to come without bothering to let me know, so it was very hurtful for her. She's a very eccentric and difficult woman but I love her in a way. I'm also very keen for the kids to get to know all their close relatives ... because, after all, the provide invaulable genetic information. They're mauch more important than friends in the long run.

It's not easy and it probably never will be, but my guess is if you're brave enough to make up with her, but state your terms, you'll have a better relationship.

spidermama Mon 01-Aug-05 11:24:49

If she really doesn't know what she has done to offend you, then you have to explain it to her in terms of how her beahviour made you feel. Give her a chance to put it right.

We always assume mums and MILs should know better because they're older, but they don't.

Perhaps you need to be the big one, the grown up, and take the initiative to sort things out. This will be good for your status if you can try to do it calmly.

leahbump Mon 01-Aug-05 11:36:04

agree with spidermama about using 'feelings' to explain it to her. that's how we handle dh's parents.

The best line we have used so far is that they are not easy people to have around as they are 'high maintanance' guests and have expectations of a hotel standard (I feel like a house maid when they are here!!) and that is just very stressful for us. We have also stopped trying to 'fob' them off and just started saying 'no, that isn't convienient, sorry'.

I can see things getting worse but I have just stopped biting my lip now...when she is out of order I tell her!!

classic comment last visit was....(ds asked me for a hug) MIL said 'there is nothing wrong with ds- he doesn't need one' I responded 'children need hugs, there doesn't need to be something wrong!' ....(and she wonders why she hasn't touched her oldest sone for nearly 10 years!!)

enough waffle- brozzer don't give in.....she has to realise she has overstepped the mark or she will only continue to cause you upset.

piglit Mon 01-Aug-05 12:08:47

I'm not sure that I agree that you have to maintain a relationship with someone purely on the basis of their blood relationship with you. I know that my m-i-l will never change, has upset every single member of her family and has been like this since a child (according to her 2 sisters and her brother). She has destroyed her daughter (my s-i-l) in ways I won't bother to go into here. I do think that in certain circumstances it is better to cut your ties if the relationship is destructive, manipulative and there is no end in sight.

Having said all of that it doesn't sound like your m-i-l is as bad as that and I'm quite sure that you can rescue some sort of relationship with your m-i-l Brozzer. Would you be prepared to have a clear the air discussion with her? They are difficult but really can work. The problem with standing your ground is that she might never budge and you are stuck with an unresolved situation that will eat away at you.

Brozzer Mon 01-Aug-05 13:20:32

Thank you so much for your posts. It's so good to hear other people's experiences because I have gone slightly barking mad and am unable to see the relationship objectively.

The trouble with this situation is that my MIL is not evil (like yours, Piglit, from the sound of it!)just selfish and insensitive.

She has a very high opinion of herself and treats her three children (all in their twenties) like they're teenagers. She is at the centre of her universe and, now on her fourth husband, is always trying to create the perfect family with herself at the helm. Husbands come and go but she is very much the boss and it seems her 3 kids take this as a given.

Until now in the case of my dp. He says he will be forced to cut her out of his life unless she makes a proper apology but the thought of things being that bad horrifies me (life is too short) and I know he would be heartbroken for the rest of his life.

She is his only parent and had cancer and then chemotherapy when our ds was a small baby. This is the main reason why we didn't sit her down and kindly establish ground rules ( the other one being that dp and I were at loggerheads on the issue).

I think she hates me for my verbal outburst all the more because she's been very ill and obviously sees ME as the insensitive, selfish one.

I'm so sorry to blab on about it - it's such a mess and I can't stop thinking about it.

YeahBut Mon 01-Aug-05 14:21:03

You must stop obsessing about the row. You are not a bad person and you had an unbelievable amount of provocation before you finally blew your top. What you have to do now is decide before you speak to her again what your boundaries are now - how often you will go to see her, how often she can take your ds, how often she can visit. I'd discuss this with your dh. Then when she does re-establish contact (and wait for her to do this, don't go running after her) you and dh can both be clear about what is acceptable.

Chandra Mon 01-Aug-05 14:58:02

Brozzer, better now than never, wait for the appology and if you have to stop seeing her because she doesn't understand how bad her behaviour is, so be it.

I had a major blowout with MIL last december, after YEARS of thinking/convincing myself that she was not evil, not doing it on purpose, that she didn't understand how much upset she was causing, etc. The main problem now is not that we have stopped contact (her problem, we have already given lots of second oportunities) but that with all the problems over the years our marriage has been badly damaged, back at the beginning of the year I was seriously considering divorce and still can't forgive that DH has waited so long to stop his mother's abuse, which by the way, he only realised how "bad" her mother was when in the middle of the blow out my MIL asked DH to decide between her and me. Having said that she has send us a message with SIL saying that she is still waiting for an appology. Stupid woman.

Stand your ground.

CarolinaMoon Mon 01-Aug-05 15:32:24

Brozzer, it sounds like you aren't comfortable with the idea of just ignoring her for as long as it takes.

Could you write her a letter explaining how her behaviour comes across to you and how it makes you feel? That way the ball's definitely in her court.

If she's being honest with your DP when she says she can't understand what's wrong, you'll end up with her feeling aggrieved at being "got at" and she won't see the need for her to apologise.

I agree with Spidermama, cutting your MIL out of your family's life is a drastic step. She sounds like she needs a massive kick up the *rse, but it's got to be worth trying to find some way of fixing the relationship before you abandon it.

PeachyClair Mon 01-Aug-05 15:35:11


My MIL does all this (and more sadly). She even binned DS3's birthday cake coz we couldn't afford to collect (car had failed MOT with massive bill) and she didnt want to ask BIL (FIL did a runner) not to go to the pub coz he works SO much harder than us and they have SO much less money than us.

Not true! They have SO much MORE money than us (two incomes, half a mnortgage, no dependants) and we work bloody hard, DH has a full time job and a small buisiness, I have three kids and a uni course.

Anyway. All I can say is you're not alone, stand your ground, find out how your DH feels about it all so you don't upset him then carry on how you want to, include her where you can but oput your DH and kids first.

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