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Why is MIL so fixated on doing things the 'right' and proper way?

58 replies

thesparrowflieshigh · 27/11/2019 18:17

For example, I opened the dishwasher while it was running to put a spoon in - she went mad. I had a bunch of flowers and she was putting them in a vase. She removed 5 leaves max then made a huge fuss about putting them in the compost bin,. It was raining heavily and that bin is quite a way from the house so I told her to chuck it in the rubbish bin. She absolutely refused and left these few leaves by the door. We told her to arrive at our house at 1pm. I saw her pull up outside at 12.50pm and sit in her car until 1pm when she came and knocked on the door. She is very uptight and unable to relax and enjoy the moment. If we have made plans to do something then suggest doing something else this throws her terribly. For example, we had arranged to go to the zoo on Saturday but it was raining heavily so we suggested we went there on Sunday as weather was better, and did the indoor activity originally planned for Sunday on Saturday instead. Well you've never seen anything like it - completely unable to cope with this threw her into a frenzy about what we'd eat, and other such what ifs and non events. These are just a few examples of what she is like. She goes to church every Sunday but is extremely intolerant of other people who do things wrong in her eyes. She exhausts me. Makes me on edge and I don't enjoy her company at all. What makes her like this?

OP posts:
Busybeebeebee · 27/11/2019 18:18

Be original. Ask her.

thesparrowflieshigh · 27/11/2019 18:20

Because I'm actually a bit scared of her Blush

OP posts:
BeeFarseer · 27/11/2019 18:20

Honestly, she sounds like she could be autistic.

Mintjulia · 27/11/2019 18:22

yes, agree with with BeeFarseer. Sounds like my late DM.

BlueJava · 27/11/2019 18:24

Perhaps she just likes to be in control and plan well, so people are like that some are more spontaneous. At least it doesn't sound like she's overstepping boundaries etc.

Seeingadistance · 27/11/2019 18:25

I also think it’s possible that she’s autistic. Rigid and inflexible behaviour, difficulty with change and transitions ...

LizzieSiddal · 27/11/2019 18:25

It sounds like she has terrible anxiety.

LizzieSiddal · 27/11/2019 18:27

You don't have to be autistic to behave as the OP is saying. When I had anxiety, I would behave in very similar ways to the OP's MIL. Since having therapy, I'm now very calm and happy.

CherryPlum · 27/11/2019 18:27

I don't know that it's anything to do with autism, I think lots of people are like this, it's just a personality type, beinv fussy.

I get a bit anxious at changes to plans myself.

blackteasplease · 27/11/2019 18:29

Sounds very much like she’s autistic or at least has anxiety. Really under diagnosed is women and girls.

I am not one who comes onto all the threads about horrible DHs and says “he’s prkbably autistic” when it’s clear he’s not, he’s just a horrible controlling man. However your MIL sounds like she right might have one or the other
(Or both!).

She also sounds a lot like my Dad but that’s another story.

EmperorBallpitine · 27/11/2019 18:29

Try to be kind. I know its tiresome having to 'deal' with awkward people but its probably anxiety or just rigid thinking type personality. Maybe, try to break plan changes etc gently, reassure her things will be alright and ignore her where necessary.

blackteasplease · 27/11/2019 18:29

Please excuse typos.

thistimelastweek · 27/11/2019 18:29

Rules keep her safe. They are also her prison.
It's hard for us freewheelers to understand but she's not doing it to annoy. Just try to accept. It will be easier for both of you

topcat2014 · 27/11/2019 18:30

To be fair half of m n would moan at people daring to turn up early

thesparrowflieshigh · 27/11/2019 18:31

She just hovers around me, doesn't get involved with the dc at all and actively avoids DH. They really struggle and have, I believe, never bonded. For example if he is in the kitchen on his own she will stay in her room (when she visits us) until I am there. She will criticise everyone and everything eg. type of flowers we have in the garden, the waitress being too slow. Then she will say something nice just as she is about to leave.

OP posts:
Amanlamp100 · 27/11/2019 18:32

My mum has been like that this for years, then men and teenage boys don’t have any Patients! 😄 we have the same with weather orientated event decision making, if it is raining then they won’t go. I am guilty of sitting in the car if we are early when going to visit, we get a call in the car if we are 10 minutes late..😄 we just learn not to wind us up.. she has improved and tbh I think I will be like your mother in law when I am in m 60’s they have become so house proud and routine and everything clean and tidy and you get more stressed and anxious, My DH is terrible about wine glasses being clean from the dishwasher, I don’t care I am not drinking wine, but if I do I don’t give a stiff now if it has food stuck
to it just pick it off and crack on.. 😄😄

TheBouquets · 27/11/2019 18:33

I wonder if it is an age group thing. I know someone very like that. Their parents were the same. It was not just about plans or times, it included having the right spoon for this and the right glass for that etc. It was irritating as well as exhausting.

Amanlamp100 · 27/11/2019 18:37

Excuse my typos too...😄 stuff not stiff

thesparrowflieshigh · 27/11/2019 18:37

@TheBouquets Yes she does that too! She even has to have the right napkin ring. Bloody exhausting.

OP posts:
FranklySonImTheGaffer · 27/11/2019 18:40

My dm is similar. She has diagnosed anxiety but also a fixation on etiquette. She's had counselling and believes this is related to being brought up poor and being considered 'rough' by some people so she's very careful to appear 'correct.'
She used to try and make me act similarly and it came across as criticism but actually she just didn't want people to look down on me as they did to her.

If she's anything like my dm, it comes from a place of anxiety and low confidence. Try and be kind. And encourage your DH to be kind and interact with her too.

thesparrowflieshigh · 27/11/2019 18:49

She comes from a wealthy well to do family and went to boarding school and is very obsessed with etiquette. The problem is she has no interest in my DH at all and it seems she only visits (rarely) because it is the 'right' thing to do.

OP posts:
Amanlamp100 · 27/11/2019 18:52

I have thought for a few years my MIL And DH have contributed to my own anxiety issues and how I parent the DC’s, I think putting up with theor ways, my mil is obsessed with her large family and says she never sees them, she always says I make cutting comments, but unable to provide me with examples!! 😂 she says that DH are close to his family unlike mine!! Illness is big part of her, some always has an illness or dead, also terms of our two Dc’ she goes on I don’t want them see her and GD!! Everyone is autistic if I call she sounds on death door and when she realises it is me, she perks up immensely!!
😄😄 but after 10 years I am now exhausted too..,

TheBouquets · 27/11/2019 19:12

@thesparrowflieshigh OMG I forgot about the napkin rings, silver with each persons name engraved on it. Every meal was discussed about what each ingredient cost.That family were all terribly pretentious. One conversation was about how could the people nearby live in Council Houses nearby - This was when they were living in a property called (insert farm yard property description). At least the people in the Council Houses lived in proper houses and not farm outbuildings!
Hyacinth Bouquet (no relation) has nothing on this lot! Hyacinth is way down the scale. Lol

thesparrowflieshigh · 27/11/2019 19:24

@TheBouquets yes she has to tell us how much the ingredients cost too! It's so distasteful and makes me think she wants us to thank her for spending money. Sounds like she'd get on we with the people you know.

OP posts:
ShinyGiratina · 27/11/2019 19:26

Sounds a lot like my BiL, whose child is on the autism spectrum. Obviously I can't armchair diagnose but there are several males in the family with traits of the autism spectrum including my DS who is awaiting assessment.

I used to find BiL hard going. He's a lovely person, just not very compatible with my slapdash ways! It is easier to take a deep breath and de-personalise his idiosyncracies since I began connecting them with autistic behaviours, as he can be brusque, or appear to randomly snap over apparently trivial things like daring to step on the lawn. I used to wonder why he was terse and perfunctory with me on the phone, but it's just him being to the point about enquiring if DH is avaliable, not intended as a personal snub.

Accepting that he needs predictable order to be in his comfort zone helps me cope with him (even if I find it mind numbing and tedious).

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