Gransnet forums

Ask a gran

Help- my MIL doesn't trust me

(32 Posts)
frazzleddil Fri 17-Jul-15 17:20:27

Hello, I've lurked on here for a while looking for some advice but no one has posted anything similar to my situation.

I hope its ok for me to post here- I'm not a Gran!

But I am a DIL, and I really need some advice on how to deal with my DMIL.

A bit of background- she has two sons, and I am married to her eldest. We are expecting our first child later this year (also her first GC). From the word go she didn't seem to like me, but I really liked her and wanted to get on with her. I felt like I could 'prove myself' to her over the years and always tried to be helpful and polite to her.

I didn't want her left out of the 'daughter' aspects of life- so I was keen to include her in wedding dress shopping when we got married, and now the baby etc. But she spoils it by bullying me and talking to me in a controlling and manipulative way, then she sends very long texts and emails to my DH ranting and raving about things I've done 'wrong', she tries to get her son on her side but he doesn't take it and they often get into arguments. He told me that growing up she was a very over bearing mother.

In her messages she says she was unhappy when DH stared to move away from her, she was unhappy about the way we had our wedding (she wore black and spent some of it crying in the toilets), now she is not happy about us not wanting to kit out a nursery for our baby- and its my fault.

I just feel that she doesn't trust me and is bitter about her son moving out, getting married and now having his own family. I feel she had expectations of how her DIL would be and I don't measure up. I can understand its hard for her but I really do include her in everything as I do my own mother. How can I make her believe that I'm not taking her son away from her and that I could be a friend to her- not an enemy she needs to be suspicious of?

Goodness me this is rather long! Thanks to those who got to the end! I just want to be able to enjoy our baby as a family that includes MIL.

ninathenana Fri 17-Jul-15 17:41:32

It's your MiL that has the problem not you.
Unfortunately some mums just don't want to give up their little boys. You can't look after him the same way she would grin There have been threads on here from MiL saying just that.
I feel for you, all you can do is continue to be sweetness and light, bite your tongue and wait. Don't take her texts to heart. It's great that your DH is supportive of you. Maybe the three of you could have a discussion on neutral ground. I don't think it's personal. Your just more important to him now than she is. As I say her problem.

Stansgran Fri 17-Jul-15 17:41:44

Don't treat her as a relative treat her as politely as you would a complete stranger. It got me through some difficult years . Glue a smile on and say How interesting a lot. Repeat an instruction on how to furnish a nursery with a do you think so? What a good idea. Then go your own way.

elena Fri 17-Jul-15 17:46:17

Oh my goodness, frazzle, she sounds awful and you can stop trying to please her now, surely!

If your dh wants a relationship with her, then of course you can't do anything about that....but there's no reason to tie yourself in knots trying to work out what makes her happy.

You might want to think very seriously about how far to be in touch with her when you have the baby, too. Why subject a baby to her nastiness?

I would have severed all contact at the first critical message to your DH, I think, and if she had survived that, wearing black and sobbing in the toilets at your wedding would have put the last nail in the coffin!

vampirequeen Fri 17-Jul-15 17:50:14

She sounds like the MIL from hell. You have done everything you can be tbh you're probably banging your head against a brick wall.

Your DH says she was an overbearing mother and now she's an overbearing MIL. Like Stansgran says just say her ideas are interesting etc then do your own thing because no matter what you do it won't be right.....she's that sort of person.

I'm amazed at your patience tbh. Her emails and texts to your DH are totally out of order and as for wearing black to your wedding and crying in the toilet...well words fail me (and that doesn't happen very often).

As far as I'm concerned you've bent over backwards to accommodate her. Now live life your way but leave the door open in case she ever realises what she's done and tries to change.

ffinnochio Fri 17-Jul-15 17:51:15

Frazzleddil. Oh dear! It seems your MIL cannot see good fortune when it's staring her in the face.

You come across as kind, considerate and accommodating. As for measuring up to her, you've no need to turn yourself inside out to please her. Not easy, I know, but you have your DH's support, and he married you for who and how you are, not a puppet on a string to accommodate your MIL's expectations.

Carry on as you are. You're going a grand job.

soontobe Fri 17-Jul-15 18:01:29

This might help.

J52 Fri 17-Jul-15 18:01:56

You sound like a lovely DIL, especially as you care enough to seek advice on here.

I can only echo what others have said. Treat her politely and stand by your own opinions. Her behaviour at your wedding was crass, especially after the effort you made to include her.

Try not to make it a battle. Maybe seeing her dear GC will change her attitude. I hope so!

Best wishes for a happy mumdom!


harrigran Fri 17-Jul-15 18:19:57

Interesting article soontobe, especially the bit about not calling in-laws mum and dad. My DIL calls me by my given name but she also refers to her own mother the same way. I use to call DH's parents mam and dad as a mark of respect because MIL used to be a great help to me.

Coolgran65 Fri 17-Jul-15 20:48:45

I called my ex in-laws... Mr ? and Mrs ?

OP - be yourself, as nice and as kind as you are.

Luckygirl Fri 17-Jul-15 20:53:35

FrazzledDIL - just stop trying! You do not have to prove anything to her. You do not require her approval.

Just have confidence in yourself and get on and enjoy this lovely phase of your life.

Lots of luck with the new baby - enjoy!

Stop trying with MIL!!!!

glassortwo Fri 17-Jul-15 21:08:00

frazzle this could be my MIL...she wore black to the wedding too! shock

We had years of her trying to turn her son against me, I cant begin to tell you what went on, but it only started once we became engaged, it went on until my first baby was born.
I didn't want the bitterness to tarnish my new borns life... when he was born she turned into a lovely MIL and Grandma, but I was the one who had to forget what had passed between us and I think she regretted the horrid things she had said and done over the years and I can honestly say that when she passed away I felt a huge loss for the friend she became, this all happened about 45 yrs ago so a long time for the bad feelings to mellow.

Its hard at the time but don't let yourself be dragged into the bitterness and hopefully you will be surprised in the change from the bitter woman she is and I hope you to can forge the relationship with her that I had with my MIL. But at the end of the day she is the one who will miss out on the joy of your baby.

NfkDumpling Fri 17-Jul-15 23:34:13

Oh dear - I wore black at my DS and DDiL's wedding! I fell in love with a particular outfit - but I did take future DiL to see it and get her approval and she is lovely and perfect for my DS.

Hopefully your MiL will change as happened with glass, but if not I would suggest you should think about moving? Just too far enough away to discourage her from dropping in too often!

(Btw - doesn't she realise that nowadays babies spend the first six months sleeping in their cot net to their parents? It's the law!)

Eloethan Fri 17-Jul-15 23:49:07

frazzle You say that from the word go you "really liked" your mother-in law and yet you felt she really disliked you. Usually when you like someone a lot, the other person feels the same - similarly if you find you absolutely don't like someone, you can be pretty sure they absolutely don't like you either.

I can understand you wanting a more amenable relationship with your mother-in-law but if she is as horribly unpleasant as you describe, you seem remarkably accommodating.

You are either a saint or you're having us on.

Leticia Sat 18-Jul-15 07:25:59

It is her problem not yours. Smile, nod, ignore and don't get drawn into arguments. Say mildly, 'I'm sorry that you feel that way' and change the subject.

suzied Sat 18-Jul-15 07:48:00

I have had 30+years of the MIL from hell and she still going strong at 95 and if anything more miserable and nasty. Best advice be the bigger person, ignore the nastiness, don't get drawn into slanging matches and keep your distance. If she says anything nasty to your face just walk away . Nasty things behind your back ( to your OH) just ignore- he's on your side . If anything I feel sorry for her now, her health is poor and she is lonely, but much of this she has brought on herself.

glammanana Sat 18-Jul-15 09:40:02

You sound such a caring person wanting things between you and you MIL to run smoothly does she have a good relationship with her other sons partner/girlfriend or is she the the same with them ?
You should be enjoying this time before your precious bundle arrives so I'd make some ground rules now with your DH regarding your MIL if she carries on as she is now you may have problems when the little one is born,I think a chat between you your DH and MIL to put things in order should be done well before the baby arrives and make her aware of your expectations as to her involvement.

soontobe Sat 18-Jul-15 09:57:31

You say that you dont feel that she trusts you.

It isnt that at all. There probably isnt any person on earth that she would want married to her son.

You have taken her son though. That is what happens when people get married or move in together.
And she must have taken her husband away from his parents too.

harrigran - I got round the problem by calling my mum Granny C, and my mil Granny D. It saved the mum/first name part.

KatyK Sat 18-Jul-15 11:34:05

I agree you should stop trying to please her. You have done all you can. I met my DH when I was 18 and we married when I was 20. I was very shy and awkward due to a dreadful upbringing. She saw this shyness as 'not trying'. She didn't come to our wedding and, because he didn't want to suffer the consequences, neither did my father-in-law, who was a lovely man. She also told DH's whole family how dreadful I was and no one else came either. I felt sorry for my DH but he stood up for me. Sad situation. DH had split up with a girlfriend of 3 years before he met me (she went off with someone else). MIL never tired of telling me that this girl was 'lovely and friendly and became part of the family'.

frazzleddil Sat 18-Jul-15 13:54:28

Thank you for so many replies! Its really helped me.

I suppose I wasn't ready to reside myself to the fact that I might have a 'MIL from hell'

I definitely get the feeling that she sees me as the person who 'stole' her son, there have been quite a few examples but one of the most prominent was just before we both left our parents houses to move into our own place. She got upset because she wanted 'one last family holiday with the boys' to New York. Dh laughed and said he's 24 and wouldn't have gone anyway, she got upset and blamed me- even though it was her son who said it to her! That grated on me alot, I know I must seem like I forgive alot but some things she has done have deeply hurt me.

I just hoped we could maybe draw a line in the sand, and she would stop all this manipulation and mistrust, since we are having a baby.

I really don't want the snide remarks about me to extend past when the baby arrives, at the moment I just know she is going to try and take over, then when dh gets annoyed and they argue- ill be the poisonous DIL... Its the same every time.

Also, I don't know if I will have the patience for it when our child comes into the equation, ive handled pregnancy really well and feel very self sufficient, if she starts with her usual 'concern' over the way I'm going things, it may cause an argument between us.

soontobe Sat 18-Jul-15 13:59:38

I always wonder with these types of people generally, what their relationship was like with their own mil.
If they apply the same rules to themselves, then they took a son too.

Luckygirl Sat 18-Jul-15 14:17:47

Well - you may be lucky and she will improve after the babe arrives - but don't hold your breath!

It sounds as though your OH is onside with you - and believe me, that is a huge bonus!

I can't imagine that you will ever be able to please her; so just be polite, set boundaries that you and OH both agree about and get on and live your own lives.

Whatever you do she is likely to blame you or think badly of you - so why try to change things? There really is no point. You have to simply not mind that she thinks badly of you - what does it matter? She is going to think what she thinks whatever you do.

Maybe you and OH need to think through how you want to handle things when baby arrives. How often would you feel happy with her visiting? Are you prepared for her to come and stay? - if not, then say so. If you are both clear and united you can find a way to get on with your lives.

You have nothing and no-one to "measure up to" - you simply have to be yourself and not mind if she decides to hate you - what does it matter? I am sure there are many people who love you dearly, and you cannot take responsibility for what others think.

Do NOT let this spoil things for you and your wonderful expected arrival - this time is just too precious to be wasted on flogging a dead horse.

Leticia Sat 18-Jul-15 14:46:38

I have 3 sons and normally I stand up for MILs who can get a rough deal.
However, you have an over controlling mother who has never let go.
The good news is that your DH backs you up.
There is no need to argue once the baby arrives. It is your baby and she can't take over. Agree the boundaries with DH first. After that 'smile, nod, ignore' and do your own thing. 'Really' in a neutral tone is a useful word. You can try 'it suits us at the moment' because it leaves it open ended. Instead of arguing say 'maybe, at a later date- but this suits us at the moment'- even if you know that you will never do it at a later date!

NfkDumpling Sat 18-Jul-15 16:43:01

Good advise Leticia

Anya Sat 18-Jul-15 16:59:41

Useful article S2B