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Am I being unreasonable if I just cant agree with my mother in law

74 replies

Absolutegeek97 · 10/10/2022 15:18

Hi, so as the title suggests I am having some trouble with my mother in law.
In fact, I am so fed up of her belittling behavior. At times we can really get on, but its her sheer amount of opinions and obsessiveness that really separate us.

I consider myself to be someone who loves to learn about new things, my job also means that I am open to understanding different interpretations of facts and opinions. Also I have always thought of people as 'a mixture of experiences, memories, interests and circumstances meaning no two people ever can be the same.' To me, its that idea that keeps me understanding that opposing opinions are just as worthy.

Now I am not talking about politics here as such, but my mother in law is so opinionated and I am often the result of some of those opinions. She is also the type to really dig into you and go too far.

A simple explanation of this would be a discussion we had the other day. We were talking about a certain popular TV show. I was asked if I liked it, to which I replied, "It's not for me. I can see why people like it. However, I just don't know who the celebrities are half the time. The fact that this show relies on guessing who these people are just gets lost on me." I have seen the show and I was referring to those who often appear on the show who are in soaps. I just don't watch them because they don't appeal to me.

She instantly pounced on me, accusing me of being horrible and nasty. She told me, "Some older people watch this show and its their only entertainment." I may not know who they are but it doesn't make them less important." I said, "I know, but I never said that. I just said I don't know anything about soaps. I also don't know much about sports."

It should have stopped there but it didn't. I am abit of a nerd and I love British Comedy and Science Fiction. I tried to joke it off and said "Put a British sitcom on I could name everyone on it. I was watching Hot Fuzz the previous night, and I could name most of the actors on it. I'm not totally clueless." (To be honest most people could.) She instantly told me that I was 'sad and pathetic' and I wasn't cultured enough.

She even had the cheek to criticise me over that I reguarly go to stand up gigs, and have done so for years. She told me It was stupid and she 'doesn't know why I like half of these people because they are s**t.' She then told me she only likes one person. Jeff Dunham, urrghh!

Not to be arrogant here or anything but I work in the media, and have qualifications in Film and TV Production/ Digital Design and a masters in English. Both qualifications are important to my job. I'm not at all arty farty in anyway.

She didn't stop there and proceeded to dismantle a sitcom I absolutely love. Abit hyprocritical if you ask me. That sitcom is very special to me, I have made friends going to conventions about it. I also watched the latest episode with my dad a while back, it was the last memory I have of him being well before his cancer diagnosis and ultimate death.

I'm just wondering if anyone has had similar experiences and how they have dealt with such people.

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?

156 votes. Final results.

You are being unreasonable
You are NOT being unreasonable
Apollonia1 · 11/10/2022 07:47

Don't engage her.
When she starts, just yawn, say "whatever" and turn away to talk to someone else.
I wouldn't have a conversation with anyone who called me pathetic.

DysmalRadius · 11/10/2022 07:54

It really does sound like six of one, half a dozen of the other. She felt criticised when you didn't like the show she enjoys and you felt criticised when she didn't like the show you love.

If she's like this about everything, then I can imagine it gets wearing, but from this example it sounds like you both take it to heart if people don't like the same things you do.

MRex · 11/10/2022 07:57

You both sound really over invested for no particular reason that I can tell, and you both need to cool down. Can you just watch TV at your own house?

Notimeforaname · 11/10/2022 07:58

She didn't stop there and proceeded to dismantle a sitcom I absolutely love. Abit hyprocritical if you ask me.

Yes you are being a bit hypocritical. You told her why you didn't like her show. And shes done the same. It's fine.

Soontobe60 · 11/10/2022 08:00

It sounds like you’re 2 very different people. She sounds like she thinks that you think you’re better than her in some way, for instance in the fact that you don’t watch soaps and she does. I find that there’s a certain type of person who often thinks they’re ‘above’ watching soaps - I’ve come across several in my time.
The fact that you had to precede your qualifications with ‘I’m not being arrogant here’ IS being arrogant - your qualifications have nothing whatsoever to do with your AIBU, so why point it out?
Would you describe yourself as geeky? The fact that you could name all the cast of Hot Fuzz, which I doubt most others could, and that you go to conventions based on a sitcom are quite niche things.
At the end of the day, she’s your MIL. The mother of your spouse, grandmother to any children you have/may have. As my grandmother used to say, it wouldn’t do for us all to be the same, the world is a better place for all our differences.
Instead of getting mad at her, just enjoy the things you DO have in common.

TimeForMeToF1y · 11/10/2022 08:02

Why do you persist in engaging with her, I'd be Hhaving the minimum of conversation. Why do you feel the need for a verbal essay on why you dont watch a light entertainment show, surely no is sufficient

girlmom21 · 11/10/2022 08:02

MRex · 11/10/2022 07:57

You both sound really over invested for no particular reason that I can tell, and you both need to cool down. Can you just watch TV at your own house?

I agree with this. You're both massively over invested about things you should be able to have a normal conversation about without getting offended.

People have different opinions and that's fine. If you can respect each other just don't discuss them.

Marigoldandivy · 11/10/2022 08:02

You both watch too much TV! Seriously, this sort of thing is annoying. I do know people who are so invested in a show that they dislike criticism of it, or even indifference. It’s just best to not engage.

SuffolkBargeWoman · 11/10/2022 08:04

At a guess, does she feel threatened by you and not know what to talk about? Maybe TV is a subject she thinks you would be able to converse about as it's your area of study and work.
When you said that the TV show 'wasn't for you' did she hear 'I look down on it and people who watch it' ?
Sometimes it's easy to forget your privilege, if you have had the opportunity for education and career that she didn't that may affect how she feels about engaging with you. Out of courtesy you could be polite about the TV show and say you've never really watched.

OutsideLookingOut · 11/10/2022 08:05

It sounds like you try to be polite when giving your opinion while she is not and that is the important thing.

Interesting responses to this thread too, feels like people miss the nuance.

Yubgftr · 11/10/2022 08:05

I wouldn't even go there.

I have an older relative who is similar with very strong opinions and I just avoid certain topics and keep conversation neutral. Or even avoid calling them when there's a big news story they'll have a lot to say on.

CatchersAndDreams · 11/10/2022 08:06

You're both in a power battle. Step out of it and kill it with kindness.

Angelinflipflops · 11/10/2022 08:06

Saying you don't know who half the people are, on what i assume you think are low grade tv shows, does indeed have a subtext to it. Maybe live znd let live and offer to take her to a stand up gig. Try snd appreciate each others tastes more.

MRex · 11/10/2022 08:12

OutsideLookingOut · 11/10/2022 08:05

It sounds like you try to be polite when giving your opinion while she is not and that is the important thing.

Interesting responses to this thread too, feels like people miss the nuance.

Where do you get that OP tried to be polite from? Those responses wouldn't come across to me as being polite at all. I wouldn't care, because I'm not over-invested in random shows like OP and her MIL are, but she knew MIL's views and continued to be rude. Being rude in the same pointless way about the same niche interests; the core issue is that they are too similar to other.

HeddaGarbled · 11/10/2022 08:12

She’s touchy. You think you’re better than her. If you want to avoid this sort of argument in future, just watch out for when she’s getting touchy and stop talking at that point.

QueSyrahSyrah · 11/10/2022 08:12

It sounds like you’re 2 very different people

I actually think it sounds like they're two very similar people.

OP I don't wish to be harsh but your post comes across just as opinionated and obsessive as you describe your MIL being.

You clearly have your opinions on the 'low-brow' TV and comedy that your MIL likes and it comes across loud and clear, as does your need to point out that your more niche shows and comedy are inherently better.

Going to a convention based around a sitcom would sit comfortably under the banner of 'obsessive'.

I wasn't at all surprised to read that you work in the media, your tone reminded me of several people I've encountered over the years. The very best of them was a BBC employee who told me 'I pay your wages' HmmGrin

You and your MIL sound like two magnets shoving each other the wrong way. Maybe you just need to avoid the whole topic of light entertainment and find things you can agree on.

SleeplessInEngland · 11/10/2022 08:15

YABU for writing this knowing no-one would think YABU.

traintraveller · 11/10/2022 08:29

You are as bad as each other, you just like different things. You do come across as an insufferable snob though.

ThatsTheWayIHikeIt · 11/10/2022 08:31

Just shrug and respond with "Just as well we don't all like the same things isn't it? The world would be a pretty boring place if we did".

My adult daughter enjoys The Masked Singer (I guess that's the show) and when she told me about it I gave it a go but I didn't enjoy it, no big deal. She often jokes about us only watching Country File and Springwatch, which isn't the case but it's become a bit of a family joke.

You and your MIL do sound quite similar in that you both get het up about these things. Stop trying to justify your personal taste. Just say "horses for courses" and leave it at that.

IamnotSethRogan · 11/10/2022 08:35

It sounds like you try to be polite when giving your opinion while she is not and that is the important thing.

Interesting responses to this thread too, feels like people miss the nuance.

I would completely agree with this.

Awoooga · 11/10/2022 08:37

If my MIL called me ‘sad and pathetic’, there’d be no way I’d watch TV with her again, or have a lot to do with her! Did your spouse not say anything??
Just be polite to her if you ever have to see her and leave it at that. Don’t get into deep conversations about shit TV.

Strugglingtodomybest · 11/10/2022 08:39

I don't see how pp can think that OP and her MIL are the same. I don't see where OP has flung out insults about her MIL's viewing habits or insulted her by calling her sad and pathetic - which is probably just MIL projecting her own insecurities onto OP!

OP, I would just stop engaging with her as soon as she starts getting nasty.


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OctopusBreath · 11/10/2022 08:41

She sounds like a nightmare. You sound as if you think you're superior.

hesbeingabitofadick · 11/10/2022 08:42

I was asked if I liked it your reply should have been "Not seen it" then either change the subject or walk away.
You must know what she's like, so stop feeding her reacting.

MorrisZapp · 11/10/2022 08:43

Who has the energy to care about this? My whole family come out with nonsense about telly, films etc. My best friend watches all the Married at First Sight stuff, I watch endless 'ambulance' shows.

Nod and smile, laugh about it. Invoking your degree subject is embarrassing.

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