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MIL Breakdown

24 replies

WinkyWinkola · 20/02/2007 18:58

My SIL, her DH and kids are moving 50 miles away from their home town so that the children can go to a great state school they've found.

MIL is devastated as they currently live 10 mins walk from her. She calls DH every evening and weekend day now, to talk about how upset she is, what will she do with her time etc. This has been going on for three sodding weeks now since SIL announced her plans. I got really annoyed last night when we were eating supper at 9.30pm and he was having a conversation with her at the same time.

I know DH often talks to his folks during the week but this is getting ridiculous. He's very patient but it's starting to cheese me off because it interupts our time together which isn't much TBH.

Apparently, she had some sort of a nervous breakdown when DH (her last child) left home to go to university and DH is worried that it's going to happen again.

I'm convinced this reaction isn't normal - they're not moving to Hong Kong after all - and that it's not really fair on us. What can I do or say that doesn't come across as nasty - I don't like the woman - but I don't suppose it's constructive to slag her off to DH. He can't talk to her during the day because he's so busy at work.

OP posts:
kimi · 20/02/2007 19:02

Can you turn the ringer off of the phone?

Perigrine · 20/02/2007 19:06

Right, but yourself in her place, and your DS or DD is now moving far away!!! Yes you would eventually get used to it - BUT take a chill pill - she's upset as you would be, and she is trying to talk through her fears with your husband, wihout dupmping guilt on your SIL WHICH IS A GOOD THING

Little perspective needed here

Chandra · 20/02/2007 19:07

.... Perhaps, don't slag her off, at least not yet, but consider suggesting DH to ring her from work/before you arrive home.

It may sound a bit premature, but I suspect your children are now going to be the new focus of her existance, so a few ground rules at the beginning may be of help in the near future.

WinkyWinkola · 20/02/2007 19:09

DH is worried about doing that. .

She's kind of persistent anyway - will ring landline, his mobile, my mobile. I don't think that's the answer anyway because it will hurt her feelings. Or should we/I be blunt? I just feel like it's a storm in a teacup that I'm not handling very well because I feel really intruded upon even if it's not me taking the calls.

OP posts:
WinkyWinkola · 20/02/2007 19:10

But fifty miles isn't far away at all surely?

OP posts:
Chandra · 20/02/2007 19:16

it is, a bit, you loose the day to day contact which I think is what she may miss more.

RedLorryYellowLorry · 20/02/2007 19:19

She will only see them at weekends and maybe not every weekend. If she has nothing else in her life it will be a loss. Does she have friends that she goes out with. I would expect my mil to behave similarly tbh.

ScottishThistle · 20/02/2007 19:24

I can see why many MIL's would react like this if they have no other interests, perhaps your Husband could encourage her to start a new hobby & remind her that 50miles is surely only a bus ride away!

edam · 20/02/2007 19:28

New hobby a good one. I can see why you are feeling under pressure - hopefully she'll calm down soon. How long until they move?

Walnutshell · 20/02/2007 19:31

Sometimes I feel a bit sorry for MILs in this position as it's often different if it's your own mother - I don't think my dh would mind in the slightest if my mum was on the phone every night under these circumstances.

We are moving 200+ miles away from MIL & DIL (currently live about 2 miles away and see them 2, 3, 4 or even 5 times a week. MIL says she is split in two - happy for us but so sad we are going, esp because our ds is their 1st grandchild I suspect.

Having said that, it does make a difference if you don't like your MIL in the first place!

When are they moving?

WinkyWinkola · 20/02/2007 19:34

They've got to sell their house first. PIL keep hoping that nobody will buy it!

She's young. Only 54. I've suggested that perhaps she get a wee job or something to keep her busy. She doesn't do much at all really apart from walk her dog.

But right now, she only sees the grandchildren there once a week anyway although she'd like to see them everyday as she regards them like her children, she says, much to SIL's irritation. They don't get on either. She'll see them weekend too occasionally if there's an event like a birthday or they need a babysitter. This is why I don't understand all the drama. Perhaps it's because my parents have never expected me to live near them. They've always said they didn't have children to keep them busy/company in their old age.

Ah well, perhaps I should resign myself to not having a daily conversation with DH without interuption for the next few weeks. He can't chat to her on the tube, you see.

OP posts:
shosha · 20/02/2007 19:43

Message withdrawn

Walnutshell · 20/02/2007 19:44

Yeah, my parents same - never batted an eyelid when we didn't settle next door (!) and supportive of our move. Have to say, now I have ds especially, I wish I was nearer my mum (and dad)... We did consider it, but have always wanted to live on the coast so have gone for that instead.

Does your dh mind the regular conversations? If I'm honest, I'd probably be a bit fed up with it too... perhaps we're both a bit selfish!!

Walnutshell · 20/02/2007 19:45

Shosha - lol! No sympathy then?

shosha · 20/02/2007 19:54

Message withdrawn

madmarchhare · 20/02/2007 19:55

Its a tricky situation and when my mum split with her then partner it was a very difficult time for me and xp. She lived about an hour and half car journey away and went on about not seeing me enough etc etc.

She was on the verge of losing it and I do think that if it wasnt for the daily phonecalls things would have been a lot worse.

I think you have to put yourself in DHs shoes for a while. Its his mother and he will feel a huge responsibility to support her during this time (albeit a slight overeaction). He really wont want you to be giving him extra pressure about it.

I do understand your point of view though, but hopefully this will be a temporary thing, maybe not as temporary as you would like, but Im sure things will change as she gets used to the idea and is encouraged to take up other activities.

madmarchhare · 20/02/2007 19:57

When it all happens, maybe you and SIL could arrange a few things for her to look forward to.

WinkyWinkola · 20/02/2007 20:00

I've actually managed to keep my mouth shut about it all so far which I'm very proud of! But I do think it's OTT and perhaps a super opportunity for her to get some interests other than her grandchildren. We all skype and they chat regularly.

OP posts:
becaroo · 20/02/2007 20:04

My MIL had a breakdown when my dh and I got married...went very odd, couldnt sleep, got very claustrophobic, (couldnt even have shower curtain across the bath). I made her go to the GP in the end....she was prescribed some sedatives which really hepled her. Try to be understanding. Explain to your dh why the constant intrusion is upsetting you...could he telephone her in his lunch break so you have the evening free? A new hobby sounds like a great idea...perhaps she could volunteer as a sure start helper?

Chandra · 21/02/2007 07:52

I agree that you have to be symphatethic with your MIL, she is going through a difficult time. What is important is that this time doesn't become a permanent one, hence my suggestion of the ground rules.

When we were living near my MIL (20 mins away), she used to drop by 2-3 times a week before 8:00 am. She rang DH 2-3 times a day and even dared to accuse me of liying about him not being at home, if she didn't find him at his desk (which happened regularly being my DH involved with lab work and teaching). On weekends, she expected us to drive 30 miles to have lunch with them, she started ringing at 7:00, asking us to pick up something from her other house, bring bread, help with something, when are you living?, shouldn't you have left already?, etc. By midday she would have rung at least 6 times.

After we moved away, she kept ringing first because she "didn't authorise" the move, afterwards because SIL was having problems at work, because she was selling the summer house, because FIL got cancer and died(very justifiable at the point, and I paid for DH to fly over every weekend during that time), later because she got another house, because she hated SIL's partner, because she had problems with her neighbours, and then DS was born... ringing every other day at 8 asking us to allow her to see him on the webcam totally ignoring our comments (and needs of silence) of DS going to sleep at 7 or in the process to. And then she decided I was an evil woman blocking her from seeing her grandson... so every time I picked up the phone after 7 it will be her being rude and accusing me of everything she could think of.

A couple of years ago, I stopped answering the phone after 7, and after other family dramas, I asked DH to ring them, whenever he had some time to do it, from the office, and to ask them not to ring our home number (may sound drastic but... by then MIL had even asked DH that he had to choose between me and her, so I was already more than fed up).

We are in the process of getting divorced now, and I really wonder how different things would have been if DH had being more "defensive" of our personal space when all this started. It is not that she is the main cause for it, but this has definitively played a big role in the relationship break up.

WinkyWinkola · 21/02/2007 08:19

I have to say, Chandra, you sound tolerant to the maximum capacity! And your MIL sounds like an absolute nightmare.
She felt she had the right to "authorise" your decisions? Blimey.

I'm not really sympathetic to my MIL because I think she makes very little effort to sort herself out with her own life, activities and interests. She has none apart from her friends' children's weddings and her dog. I can't really bear the childlike neediness I see in her. But I don't really have to deal with it until now. DH didn't actually speak to her yesterday evening. Could be the start of her recovery! But then he only got back from work at 9.45pm.

OP posts:
Chandra · 21/02/2007 09:31

Although I consider myseld tolerant in many issues, in this one, more than tolerant I consider myself an idiot for putting up with it for years.... But, anyways, when you are raised in a culture where frontal confrontations are to be avoided and you never ever have a go at a person older than you.... I was in a bad position, culturally speaking, to deal with her.


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becaroo · 21/02/2007 10:05


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