Hello. I am posting on Gransnet as a DIL that would like to try and understand how to move forward with my MIL. Also to try and understand her behaviour and whether I am being unreasonable. I would really appreciate some advice from other MIL's.
My DH and I have been together 8 years and have a child. My mother in law pretends to me that she loves and supports me but it has never felt very genuine. Despite this, over the last 2 years I have started to trust her and believed she had grown to love me in some way. Obviously I'll never be one of her own and I know that, but I felt we had a good relationship.
Yesterday my friend and I overheard her making some horrible remarks about me (we had taken my child to visit her at her place of work, and she thought we had left when we were around the corridor after using the bathroom). We overheard MIL speaking to her sister (my Aunty in law), she said that I wasted her son's money (I don't, and one third of our household income is from my earnings), and that I should be more than happy with my lot as I've done so well in marrying her son compared to the rest of my family who have nothing.
Just 5 minutes beforehand MIL had told me she loved me. I feel so hurt and depressed by all this. It's as though we've regressed back to 6 years ago when I first became pregnant and had DC. MIL found it very difficult when DC was born (extremely emotional, a lot of crying), and accused me of keeping her from DC because I wouldn't let her give DC first bath, let her look after DC alone and stay the night at her house at a couple of weeks old etc. I felt at the time very threatened by how much MIL thought of herself as 'mother' to my child. She even referred to my DC as her 'firstborn'.
DH is very supportive of me however it's difficult for him to act on this. The last time he did catch MIL speaking in this way about me, he confronted her but she burst into tears and sulked for one month whilst we had numerous phone calls from my sisters in law pleading for DH to apologise to MIL and stop her feeling so sad. In the end we gave in.
If DH or I confront MIL with this latest event it's 100% likely she will again sulk and make herself the victim. I obviously feel like I want I give her a very wide berth for a while but there's only so long I can avoid her before she notices and starts to send messages through my SIL and FIL that I haven't called or visited.
To put all of this into context, I generally feel my MIL has no respect for me as a mother and ignores my wishes when caring for my child. For example, co sleeping, giving her inappropriate gifts like make up, far too many sweets and junk food.
She also created problems leading up to and on our wedding day, she was against me buying a wedding dress and insisted I hire one, she bought herself a white dress to wear, complained to everyone that she was losing her son (DH and I had been living together for 6 years and with a child for 3 years already). She didn't compliment me or speak to me on my wedding day although I invited her to spend some time with me getting ready. She just got quite drunk instead. She asked on 3 occasions to stay in our hotel room with us on our wedding night to look after our child (our daughter would be asleep and never wakes in the night, she knows this).
I feel drained after seeing my MIL because I often have to keep my defences up and be vigilant with my child. My MIL always wants to take her away from me and into another room, and once told her that Mummy doesn't let her see her enough. Am I being reasonable to keep my distance and only see them every month or couple of months? We live fairly close by and they are used to seeing us about once a fortnight or sometimes once a week.
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