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Trying to understand mil and dil relationship

(61 Posts)
Dilinneed Sun 04-Sep-16 08:52:03

I hope you don't mind me joining. I am married to a lovely guy for almost 3 years together 6. My mil has always disliked me, she honestly has been on my case he entire 6 years. Anyway it all got to much a few years back and my husband was given the choice, stick up for me or leave (he couldn't be bothered with arguing so just ignored the issue)

I have said to her so many times that there's plenty of room in his life for us both but she won't have it. I have been emotionally blackmailed, bullied and it's been awful. He still sees her with the kids (wouldn't dream of stopping him).

She has told me before that she can make me go away, whatever that means! I gave up trying last year, told her to crack on I couldn't be bothered anymore and have avoided her since. Now obviously I'm getting the blame as I'm making no effort. Why would I for someone who clearly hates me.

Anyway my question- how on earth do I get her to see I'm not a threat? I'm sick of having to either be excluded or exclude myself from his side of the family

NanaandGrampy Sun 04-Sep-16 09:13:47

I really feel for you. I've been married 40 years and I remember my relationship being identical with my MiL . Her ideal scenario would have been having her 'baby' back and her grandchild and for me to fall off a cliff !!!

I spent 20 years trying to be the daughter-in-law she wanted and nearly lost my own identity in the process.

I'm afraid in my experience this is one war you can't win. No matter how 'right' you are and no matter how poor her behaviour. She is your DHs mum and as such will be in your life.

I took your route and just didn't visit but we got to the place where she started to invite them all for Sunday lunch and I would be left at home time and time again.

I gave up at that point, sat down my DH and explained it was his Mum , he could go and see her any time but she wasn't going to play happy families with my family whilst I sat at home on my own.

In the end I just saw them as little as possible. DH visited at times when I was work so not taking away our time. Sometimes he took the girls, school holidays etc. I was polite on the times I did go- duty visits for birthdays etc but I gave up being her punching bag and if she had a dig -I returned the favour. I'm not naturally argumentative so it was hard but the quieter I had become the better target I made for her.

I'm afraid you will always be a threat because she is the worst type of MiL - a clingy one. So its unlikely your relationship will ever be the one you hoped for. Excluding yourself is giving her exactly what she wants instead go , be polite, keep the visits short and sweet and get right on her nerves {smile].

Good luck !!

Pollengran Sun 04-Sep-16 09:53:54

That is a shame, but it's more common than you think. If you really want things to change, you could be the "bigger person" and go and see her on your own. Sometimes pride can stop people from trying to mend things, and they regret their behaviour, but given a chance they soften.

I doubt if your OH will be much help. Often sons/husbands hate to be involved and would rather just keep the peace as they see it.

Finally, you could just leave things as they are. My father used to take me to visit my paternal grandparents without my Mother. It never occured to me, as a child that there was anything wrong. I only realised as I grew up that they didn't get on.

Christinefrance Sun 04-Sep-16 10:31:06

What is it with mothers and sons, we don't seem to get so many of these problems with daughters. Can't really add anything to the advice given by NanaandGrampy, I was fortunate in having a reasonable relationship with two mothers in law. Not close though. Maybe we need to look at our relationships with sons before they marry to try and avoid these issues

jenpax Sun 04-Sep-16 10:33:41

My MIL was hideous she hated me from the very beginning. I was not what she wanted from a DIL, she disapproved of my clothes and that I wore makeup and she had a 1950's housewife view of what a wife should be! She hated that I insisted on completing my law degree and having a career and she didn't approve of the way I raised our 3 daughters! In the very beginning I tried hard to please her but soon found it was pointless I then just didn't make any effort to see her although I told her she was welcome to come and visit whenever she wanted (she never took me up on the offer!) she died 4 years ago and I hadn't seen her or spoken to her for 20 years! It was no loss. My husband still saw her and went to her home when the children were small he would sometimes take them but even that stopped in the end because the girls used to get upset over there due to her making disparaging comments to them about their "awful mummy!" My other half put his foot down and told her that if she couldn't refrain she wouldn't be able to see them. Unfortunately her spite over came any grand parental feelings and she missed out on seeing my children grow up! I believe she did a better job with my youngest brother-in law and his family he met his wife when my children were in their late teens and by the time he had his 3 I think she had learned her lesson!

J52 Sun 04-Sep-16 10:46:40

Sympathies, I too had an awful MIL, and on reflection should have smiled sweetly and ignored her. I didn't always, so we had periods of being ignored.

However, as a mother of two boys and a MIL I do try to be supportive and keep my opinions to myself and we all get on well. But I do really dislike the attititude " what is it with mothers and sons......." We are not all the same, just as mothers of girls are not all the same!

A recent poster complained that she didn't want to go on holiday with her daughter, so the MIL was to be asked as second choice. Or was it second best?

harrigran Sun 04-Sep-16 11:03:44

My MIL treated me like the daughter she never had, I got on with her and looked after her in our home when she was poorly. She died in her 50s and I still miss her.

jenpax Sun 04-Sep-16 11:06:35

Not sure that smiling sweetly and ignoring is always possible! I was bought up in a family of strong, independent career minded women. my great grandmother was one of the first women to be admitted to an Oxford college and her daughter (my maternal grandmother)was a chemist with MIL disapproved of her and my own mother too! I wasn't prepared to be quiet while sexist comments were made by her which they frequently were! Her view was that the wife should stay at home with the children, undertake no paid work and that once married there was no point in wearing nice clothes etc! I wanted my own 3 daughters to be as independent and out spoken as I was (something I have definately achieved!) and I didn't want to be living in the 1950's as far as equality was concerned.

trisher Sun 04-Sep-16 11:06:39

I agree about "the mothers' of sons" comment. We aren't all the same and we don't all cling to our boys once they become men. Dillnneed you may think being together 6 years is a long time but I suspect your MIL is taking a long time to adjust. Stick in there. You have her DS and her DGCs you are holding all the cards. See her when family events make it necessary, smile and be polite, but don't be alone with her. She gets some sort of satisfaction from bating you, if you avoid personal discussions and don't give her time to start an argument things may improve.

Dilinneed Sun 04-Sep-16 11:08:45

I think I just don't understand why she wants from me, she is so nasty behind dh back then denies it when I bring it up with him. She seems to want me to be submissive to her, I'm a very independent woman and live life the way we want and she sees me as like he other woman it's very strange.

She almost broke us up a few times, it's been hard! If he wants a relationship with her and the kids to see her I would never stand in the way, and he's getting pretty sick of her too it's a shame I think she'll loose him too if she carries on. For his attention she told him the doctor said she probably had cancer, was a water infection.

I have confronted her and asked her why she thought there was tensions between us, apparently there isn't and she's so glad I married her son. But he was in the room and she has told me in private that she cant believe he married someone like me?

6 years of stress, it's taught me a lot about what kind of mil I want to be one day, that's one positive, she's taught me a lot

Dilinneed Sun 04-Sep-16 11:11:08

My ex mil (wasn't married to her son but long term relationship) was amazing, I still talk to her now. Wish I could mix and match sometimes!

J52 Sun 04-Sep-16 11:11:25

Jenpax you have described the struggle I had with my MIL, sadly she had her own career plans cut short through illness. She found it difficult to have three DILs who had careers. Smiling sweetly, was rarely done!

Daisychain Sun 04-Sep-16 11:15:50

Don't waste any more of your precious on this unpleasant individual.

Joyfully Sun 04-Sep-16 11:17:14

You know what they say, a daughter is a daughter all your life, but a son is a son until he takes a wife.

Here is an idea if you feel confident enough to do and it sounds as though you are.

Take her for coffee, and ask her this.

I have wanted to have a talk with you about what specifically it is you just don't like about me? Do I threaten you in some way perhaps. Depending on her answers, then ask her how you could both get along better. Give her an opportunity to speak without interrupting . Then you could say something like: because after all, neither of us is going anywhere, and we don't want be between a rock and a hard place in his affections for us both do we?
If it goes badly, say gosh look at the time. Must dash. If it goes better, give her a hug and buy more coffee .

Dilinneed Sun 04-Sep-16 11:23:53

Joyfully I do need to do this, I think somehow I have been conditioned to fear her and I do avoid her now at all costs. I guess other than breakin up with her son she's winning I guess.

I think I do this on my own in a public place and see if she can just give me an answer! I don't think she realsies how perfect me and dh are for eachother, we found eachother at a time when our lives were low and we were both struggling with so much hurt. We're soul mates and make eachother so happy, I like the person I am since we have been together and that's from a place of awful abuse from an ex. I can't see why, even if she doesn't like me (being married to her son doesn't mean she has to like the person I am) how happy we make eachother!

starstella Sun 04-Sep-16 11:28:55

There are people on this earth that are never happy no matter what you do.I have 4 sons and they all have partners.I have treated them all the same.Made them welcome asked them for Christmas etc.I have s pent the same amount of money on gifts and made sure they all had the same No of stocking fillers Easter eggs etc.The 2 that I did the most for (took them in, even giving them money til they were back on their feet never offered back BTW) these 2 really dislike me and I don't know why.The other 2 are angels and thank God for them.

Don't feel guilty just do what makes you happy that's what works best.

inishowen Sun 04-Sep-16 11:30:40

My daughter had a problem with her future in-laws. The mother put nasty things on facebook about her. There was a big fall out, and they missed the wedding. They also missed three years of their granddaughter's life. Recently my daughter decided to confront the situation. She met up with them in a cafe and aired all the problems. They were so sorry and there were a lot of tears. They have since been to visit and got to know their GD. They are devastated that they missed the wedding. I know in my heart they will be on best behaviour from now on. They suffered in the three years they didn't see their son and his family. I admire my daughter for having the courage to sort out the whole mess.

Dilinneed Sun 04-Sep-16 11:41:22

inishowen I admire her too, I know too well it's not easy to confront that situation.

Thanks so much everyone

Chrishappy Sun 04-Sep-16 11:56:26

I would kill her with kindness, buy her flowers when you go round, be soooo nice that her bad behaviour sticks out like a sore thumb and if she is critical just say ' oh I'm sorry you feel like that ' she will soon get the message

cornergran Sun 04-Sep-16 12:08:36

Fortunately my relationship was good enough with my MiL. She was much older than my Mum, seemed a more grandmotherly figure and perhaps this helped. Distance precluded us spending a lot of time together, nearly 50 years ago travel was slower and more difficult. I would have liked to know her better, she died 35 years ago. Your story could be that of a close friend, she tolerated the behaviour you describe for many years. Her DH was supportive but seemingly could not change the situation. It did change as much as it could when our friend began to be more assertive. I wish you well and applaud your desire to form a more positive relationship. It may never be as you hope but from your description hard for it to be less fulfilling. I'm the mother of sons and worry so much when I read about these oh so difficult relationships. I think I get on with my two daughters by marriage, but I also wonder how it is from their side. How do we ever know? Good luck, let us know how you get on? I hope one day your MiL will appreciate you.

annsixty Sun 04-Sep-16 12:51:47

I had a neighbour who had this sort of relationship with her MiL. H would go every Saturday to take her shopping and do jobs for her. The family could not go out until this ritual had been done. Obviously much more to it but it came to an end when the S went to pick his mother up on Christmas morning to find her dead in bed. All natural and peaceful I an happy to say but C always thought she had somehow planned it to get the ultimate control and ruin Christmas for them.

tigger Sun 04-Sep-16 13:03:24

It's not just a mil thing, you can bust a gut trying to get on with baggage inherited in second marriages and lose your identity and still be used like a football. Now, I don't bother, my house, my rules etc.etc. For me it is the only way to survive.

moobox Sun 04-Sep-16 14:00:00

I met my MIL when I was mature, so had nothing to strive to live up to. Not baking, even Christmas cakes, not knitting, I stuck to my guns, and now just eat her cakes and let her knit for my grandchild.

My DIL, on the other hand, is another story!!

Greyduster Sun 04-Sep-16 14:44:09

I don't think my m-i-l ever liked me. I was an "incomer" and not the girl she had marked out for her son, but fortunately we didn't come into contact with each other that often. She was never openly unpleasant though. I can't believe that anyone could be so consistently and actively unpleasant as the OP's m-i-l. It would almost make me wonder whether she had mental health issues. I have a son and I sometimes had a struggle with my first d-i-l, who, for reasons that seemed to stem from her own complicated family situation, kept me at arms length to such an extent that I thought that I would never have any kind of relationship with her - and I have never been, or wanted to be, a suffocating presence in anyone's life. She seemed to want to build a wall around them both. I liked her - I just didn't understand her.

Joyfully Sun 04-Sep-16 14:46:48

Go for it. You have nothing to lose. As long as you sow seeds that you are going nowhere, and that you would like if everyone was happy. She may be deeply insecure, and is showing her own fears by being nasty to you. She may be just as afraid of you as you are of her. Rise above her. Make this your challenge to sort things out. Once you have done all you can, you can know you can do no more. If she does not accept your hand in friendship, then it is longer your problem but hers.