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Am I being over sensitive ?

(37 Posts)
Justamom Tue 01-Feb-22 16:03:40

Hi just looking for a little advice, I will give you about of a brief overview on mines and my MIL relationship. We get on well but we in no way have a close relationship, I fell pregnant with my first child less than 3 months of being with my partner so maybe that's part of the reason; because we never really got to know each other. I feel she sometimes her personality changes depending on what mood she is in, I will admit I am a sensitive person and perhaps I do over analyse things abit too much, I want to believe her heart is in the right place and that she means well but sometimes her comments and little digs are too much and I'm beginning to feel like I'm not good enough for my children, it is making me depressed, it's also making me really dislike my mother in law and hate every thing she does, which I hate. My partner isn't much help as he jumps to her defence even when I'm just explaining to him that what she said was bang out of order, he literally sees no wrong in what she does. I will give some examples of what she has done in the past and recently that have hurt my feelings and that I feel are over stepping the mark.

1. Whenever we visit and I'm changing my son she will say things like " put some nappy cream on him"
"Just let him have his nappy off to get abit of fresh air" "aren't you going to put a vest underneath his clothes" I could go on for days about the comments and unwanted suggestions she makes, but she makes me feel like I don't know what I'm doing!

2. I am currently pregnant with my 3rd little monkey and my 2nd born will only be 2.4yr when little one arrives and I just want to point out that it wasn't a suggestion I was TOLD that I would use my 2nd borns pram and not buy a double and she would purchase us a buggy board, I said thank you but me and my partner have already decided we need a double buggy because I don't drive and need to walk 2 ish miles to nursery for my son so I thought it was unfair to make him stand if his legs would happen to get tired. She brought it up to partner again when I wasn't around and then again when I was and my partner kindly said " thanks mum and we appreciate you wanting to help us but we need a double buggy because we know that Noah won't want to stand for long" to which she replied very smart and cheekily saying " you are the parents and you need to tell him that he will have to stand on the board"

3. We were on holiday and my son who is 2 was getting abit overwhelmed with all the people and getting frustrated that he couldn't go into the water where the ducks were and when he chucked himself to the floor I went to pick him up and she said " don't pick him up just leave him on the floor he will come out of it" I said he needed a cuddle and that's what I will give him, he soon settled now and was fine, later on that night he was getting restless in his pram and wanted to walk but I tried to keep him in the pram for a few more minutes I tired to give him his toy truck but he was getting so upset he made himself sick, so I decided to give him a cuddle and told him that If he wanted to walk he must take mummy's hand and MIL said " you need to stop giving him his own way all the time, I know it's hard but he will soon learn he has to sit in his pram" I then ignored her because I was about to snap!

4. We were all sat around the breakfast table and my partners auntie said that my son was very smart for being non verbal I took this as a compliment until MIL said " he must take that from the Murray's" ( Murray is her maiden name ) to which everyone just looked at her because I think everyone could tell I wasn't happy at her trying to embarrass me in front of people.

5. I cooked her and 8 other people breakfast with SIL to which she laughed and said " these young people don't have a clue on how to cook" to which I said well make it yourself next time smile

6. She told me she had been snooping on my fb and that she saw photos when I was skinny I just thought to myself what an absolute b*tch.
She also then made a comment about if my partner wasn't her son and she was 10 years younger she would go for him herself, that comment made me feel uncomfortable I'm not going to lie.

Sorry for the long post but I just feel like my partner makes me feel like I'm over sensitive and that she's just trying to help us, he knows everything she says to me and he says "she won't mean it in that way she was only joking" but I don't take it that way.

BigBertha1 Tue 01-Feb-22 16:11:08

Oh Dear I do see what you me but sadly some in laws do get on your nerves. To be frank I cant see her changing and what I would suggest is make sure you and your partner have a united front and stand up to her but not at the cost of all falling out. I think you are going to have to turn a deaf ear to some of this. She sounds like my other was - drove me crazy so I know what you mean. Best wishes. smile

Curlywhirly Tue 01-Feb-22 16:17:05

YANBU - she sounds a nightmare! When she tries to give you childcare advice, I would just say that things are done differently now, each generation has their own way of doing things. She sounds as though she is a little jealous of you, I would just ignore her personal comments and do what I did and smile sweetly (and make a mental note of how not to treat any future DIL that you may have!) ☺

Baggs Tue 01-Feb-22 16:18:22

Number two problem about the double buggy your partner supported you.

Number three you were right to ignore her and do what you thought best. Well played.

The proper response to number four is for you to say "pish!" to yourself inside your head. The woman is just trying to be one up all the time. One could almost ( almost! ) feel sorry for her insecurity.

Number five. Yup.

Number six is not worth am instant of your attention.

You're doing fine. Just try to ignore her a bit more while smiling sweetly and thinking Oh for goodness sake! in your head.

I seem to have missed no.1

rosie1959 Tue 01-Feb-22 16:21:03

You are not being over sensitive she sounds awful. Your husband has to back you on important issues and stand up to his mum. He is probably so used to her sarcasm he doesn’t notice.
Next time she makes unwanted comments ask her if she means to be so rude.
She certainly sounds a know it all

MerylStreep Tue 01-Feb-22 16:26:47

Time to put the big girl knickers on I’m afraid.
The woman is a bully, but get it into your head that bullies don’t like to be confronted.
I don’t mean in front of a crowd but on your own. Write down what you want to say, practice saying it out loud. No raising of your voice. Just tell her in a cold and calculated way that it’s going to stop.

AGAA4 Tue 01-Feb-22 16:31:05

Some GMs want to be involved and give advice. They really shouldn't!
They are your children and you follow your instincts about how to look after them. Just thank her for the advice but say you will do it in your own way.

VioletSky Tue 01-Feb-22 16:41:26

You are going to have to master the non reply

"thank you for sharing"

"I will think about that"

"that's an interesting idea"

Then just carry on as you are. The more you JADE, justfy, argue, defend and explain, the further she will push.. So don't do it. Let it all roll off you.

She may turn her non helpful remarks on your partner if she can't get at you and he may then realise what she has been putting you through

Allsorts Tue 01-Feb-22 16:52:57

Next comment that stings, say quietly to her, can we please talk on our own, tell her how upset at her criticism, you feel upset when she does it and could she stop, it’s up to her then, she needs to change her attitude, you can’t be undermined as your children grow, I’m afraid if she didn’t stop, I would absent myself from her for a while, your husband could take the children to see her, you are pregnant and shouldn’t be having this stress. I love my dil to bits, don’t see her that much, but we love each other, she has never received a critical word from me. My son is her partner and she comes first with him as she should. He would not stand for me talking down to her, but I wouldn’t to it anyone, how can you get pleasure by ridiculing someone?

Germanshepherdsmum Tue 01-Feb-22 16:59:40

She sounds exactly like my (now dead so not the same one) ex MIL. A bully. Always knowing best and wanting to be in charge. I don’t think you’ll change her if mine was anything to go by so you need to get your partner on your side and put up a united front. Do things your way and try as hard as you can not to take it personally because I reckon she’d be the same with whichever girl her son got together with. I’m sensitive too and I know how it hurts but stay determined to look after your babies your way, with love. Like my former MIL, it doesn’t sound as if yours is nearly such a loving person as you are. Babies need to be cuddled and not made to stand for long periods when there’s another way, don’t they? Your confidence that you’re doing the right thing will grow, I promise. The proof of that will be your happy children brought up your way, with love.?

janeainsworth Tue 01-Feb-22 17:04:02

Good advice from VioletSky, justamom.
I wouldn’t let her see she has upset you. Show her you’re tough, by ignoring her.
#6 is positively creepy. I wonder how your partner feels about that?

Norah Tue 01-Feb-22 17:13:23

Ask your partner to deal with her, don't let her be your problem. There is absolutely no reason your partner can't interface with his mum.

I agree, don't JADE.

I also agree to stock replies -- "Thanks for offering" "Interesting" "No thank you" (hold your ground and give nothing)

Peasblossom Tue 01-Feb-22 17:13:51

I would have laughed and said “And I’ve seen pictures of you when you were young and pretty. But at least when this baby’s born I’ll be skinny again”. ?

My ex-MIL was a shocker, but I learned to give back as good as I got.

When she gave out unwanted advice (commands) I would laugh and say, “Yes well you have a baby, you can do that” as if everything she said was funny.

Funnily enough, when she became my ex we got on quite well and stayed in touch.

M0nica Tue 01-Feb-22 17:16:16

You have a problem, no doubt, but it does seem that your partner realises his mother is a pain in the proverbial and that is a long way to coping with a MiL like this.

My mother was always excellent with things like this, she either completely ignored the remarks and continued as if nothing had been said, made a vague mmmm noise or, if all else failed, responded by starting a conversation on a different subject that started with a question to the person. 'Have you seen what they are doing to the house down the road?'

You could try them, though whether they will work in a situation like this I am not sure.

Chewbacca Tue 01-Feb-22 17:21:44

You appear to have 2 problems: you have an interfering mother in law and an OH who doesn't back you up and minimises the behaviour of his mother. The first problem can be solved by ignoring her unsolicited advice and just carrying on with raising your children in your own way. Only you know the answer to the 2nd problem.

aonk Tue 01-Feb-22 17:32:05

I really feel for you! It’s a long time ago now but my MIL was similar. She couldn’t keep her thoughts to herself and thought she had a right to say anything she liked to me. DH told me to ignore her. He wouldn’t challenge her because she “had a hard life.” This was true but hard to tolerate. I tried to see her good points such as her generosity. She never visited without bringing flowers or cakes and truly loved all her family. The in laws were never good enough though. Shortly before she died she thanked me for being a good wife and mother so we parted on good terms. I advise you to to accept her for what she is and refuse to allow her to upset you. Your own stress levels will hopefully reduce.

Smileless2012 Tue 01-Feb-22 17:35:19

No, you are not being over sensitive Justamom and I think that M0nica's advice is spot on. Ignore her, don't even bother with a response. Any response will let her know that what she says bothers you, so don't give her one.

Dickens Tue 01-Feb-22 17:36:30

I'm stunned that MILs and grandparents think it's OK to interfere with the way their offspring bring up their children. Unless you're doing something obviously dangerous, they should just butt out.

There were times when I thought my DIL and son should have done things 'differently' - but only in my head. I would never have actually told them.

Each generation has their own way of raising children - and of living their lives. TBH, unless, as I said you can see an obvious danger in what a parent is, perhaps unwittingly, doing, it's none of our business.

My own mother only ever gave me such 'advice' when I asked for it, and I've followed her principle.

If that was my MIL, I would simply point out - politely of course, that she had her way of doing things and that I have mine, and will do what I think is best for my children. You know your children better than anyone else.

As for the cooking thing, that was just plain rude of her. She sounds like a nightmare of a MIL and needs putting in her place, a tad.

Blondiescot Tue 01-Feb-22 17:51:19

I don't think you're being over-sensitive - she sounds very over-bearing. I consider myself lucky - I got on better with my MiL than my own mother, and she never interfered. When my grandson was born, I always told my DiL that I would never tell her how to do things - if she asked for my advice, I would happily offer her some suggestions, but I wouldn't be offended if she didn't take that advice or follow those suggestions. In this situation, I would do as others have suggested and just try to ignore her (even though that may not be easy at times!)

Serendipity22 Tue 01-Feb-22 17:59:15

Ohh heck, she sounds a nightmare.
Has your partner said to you she irritates him? I mean he has had many more years of her than you have, she sounds jealous to me, has she anymore children or is your partner an only child?

I cant for the life in me see the justification in a MIL belittling her DIL for absolutely no reason and knowing her needless comments HURT !!!! Just plain nasty.

I certainly wouldn't stand for it, i too am very sensitive but i am also someone who rolls her sleeves up and takes noooooo nonsense.

So make sure your partner agrees with you, get those sleeve rolled up and get the nasty woman that you are the mother and if she has nothing pleasant to say to you then button it.

You are doing your lèvel best and in return you are being ridiculed.

I dont know if you drink wine but here's a glass, i think you deserve it. wine

DiscoDancer1975 Tue 01-Feb-22 18:14:20

Oh my goodness....this woman needs to be out of your life.....until your husband sorts it out properly, as he should. I don’t think she’s joking. It’s nothing to laugh at, and your husband needs to get to grips with this right now.

Tell your husband you and the children are not seeing her anymore until she stops being like this. She needs a firm lesson, and she needs it now. Don’t wait any longer.

We had 25 years back and forth with a difficult MIL, and she was a saint compared to how yours sounds! We finally estranged 20 years ago, when we were both 40.

Your family life is so precious. You won’t get this time back. If can deal with your MIL in 20 years, when the children are grown.

Where is your FIL, can’t he reign her in?

Good luck.

Madgran77 Tue 01-Feb-22 18:23:42

She does sound rather over bearing and also rude and unkind!

I think either ignore or change the subject or give very non committal replies like "I'll think about that" or "Ok" or "Maybe" .... Don't get drawn into pointless conversations trying to explain how you feel etc ...those are ripe for the good old chestnuts like "!Oh I didn't mean it" "You are being oversensitive" etc etc other words openings for her to male you feel even more inadequate (unjustifiably!)

I also think your OH has got to stand with you on this, and be clear and consistent. You see the example you gave of him standing up to her as him being "very kind!" He is NOT doing you a favour, he is doing exactly what he should be doing ie. making it clear what you and he as co parents have decided!! And he needs to be doing that all the time, not telling you "she doesn't mean it!". If you do want to respond .... looking at your examples:

1. He (or you) should be saying "Please stop Mum. We have our own way of doing things and they work!" and walking away

2. Her comment re the board he (or you) should be saying "No we have decided to get a double buggy and will not be changing our mind" and walking away.

3. Her comment re giving him his own way , he or you need to be saying "I can't imagine why you think we do" and walking away!

4. No comment!

5. You reply was good but maybe first you could have said "Did you mean to be that rude?" and walking away

6. You (or your partner) "And your point is? Are you saying I have put on weight after having 2 children - in which case you are correct!" and walk away.

Good luck flowers

Justamom Wed 02-Feb-22 08:29:46

Thank you for all of your advice, it made me feel a lot better that perhaps I am seeing things for what the are. MIL has a very cleaver way of putting her little digs across, sometimes harshly but sometimes very back handedly. So when I do bring it up to my partner he says I’m over reacting because he doesn’t see what she’s said in a negative way. Whether she said it in a sarcastic way or a jokey way I don’t see how someone can get pleasure with constantly making rude remarks trying to put another person down! I have previously told her that I don’t like to talk about my weight especially when I’m pregnant she again said “ can’t say anything to you young ones these days” and still the comments continue.

MercuryQueen Wed 02-Feb-22 08:39:16

I’d ask your partner to explain how her comments are funny, since he insists she’s joking.

janeainsworth Wed 02-Feb-22 08:59:07

justamom she again said “ can’t say anything to you young ones these days”

That made me smile. Most of us old ones know that already, having possibly learned the hard way grin
Next time she says it, you could come back with ‘Too right! So don’t!’ grin