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MIL's Behaviour

(78 Posts)
annab275 Sun 01-Sep-19 09:38:40

My partner's Mum is in poor health in her late 70's. A couple of weeks ago she had a go at me for pronouncing the word 'drawing' wrongly. I felt like a five year old after a firm ticking off, and to be honest I was gobsmacked. She prides herself in plain speaking and tells anyone exactly what she thinks, regardless of whether she has been asked or not. I have put this down to just her, but yesterday she was recounting that she had told her grand daughter, who has mental issues and put on a lot of weight recently in no uncertain terms that she was fat and needed to go on a diet, and how gorgeous she used to be and how she has let herself go. I defended the GD and said how hurtful those comments could be and would certainly not encourage her to lose weight. My MIL says ' now I am this age I can say what I like and I love upsetting people!' I said, how would you react if someone spoke to you like that? I am finding her increasingly hard to cope with and it is very hard for her son, my partner, who is on the receiving end of this kind of nonsense far more than I am. Surely bad manners is unacceptable at any age, especially if it is done with full awareness! Sorry to rant - trying to figure out how to deal with it.

GagaJo Sun 01-Sep-19 09:43:51

Is it possible there could be an issue with dementia?

Although my mil was a real b***h, she was always like that. Nothing to do with ageing.

Madgran77 Sun 01-Sep-19 09:44:45

I would suggest that you keep responses unemotional and honest as she has admitted to loving upsetting people.

So telling you about pronunciation reply "Ok!" No more. Then she gets no pleasure from seeing upset!! Re granddaughter you could say " I'm surprised you thought could help her" then no more. Whatever she says after that just replyv"Oh!" Again no pleasure provided for her as she sees no upset.

Just an idea this but to me the key is her pleasure in upsetting people and therefore seeing you upset, outraged or whatever will make her do it more flowers

wildswan16 Sun 01-Sep-19 09:49:00

It's really tough having to live with someone like this. But madgran has given good advice. Accept it, say something simple back like "OK", and ignore it.

She may be doing it to provoke people, or because she has no other outlet for her anger at growing old and being in poor health, or just because she is a nasty person.

Don't let it upset you and laugh with your partner at how ridiculous she is.

Grannybags Sun 01-Sep-19 09:51:32

I don't have any different advice to Madgran77 but just wanted to say that my mum would tell people off if they said draw ring for drawing.

Made me chuckle as I thought it was just her!

Maybelle Sun 01-Sep-19 10:23:30

I agree that the way to deal with this is to ignore, give bland one word answers and not to be drawn into an debate which may easily develop into an argument. Given that she feels her age gives her the right to say what she wants and her apparent love of upsetting those around her.

Limit your time with her, and if you do share a house with her just walk into another room and close the door.

Teetime Sun 01-Sep-19 10:27:08

I agree. Dont engage with this appalling behaviour - you could try laughing at her. My mother was like this ' called a spade a spade' but didn't like it given back to her and hated being laughed at.

EllanVannin Sun 01-Sep-19 10:33:21

Ignore her, she's just looking for an audience.

Daisymae Sun 01-Sep-19 10:52:30

Yes, as has been said, don't react - she is doing this for her own amusement. So don't rise to the bait. How others deal with her is up to them. But if people see less of her she may get the message!

Urmstongran Sun 01-Sep-19 10:55:52

My mum didn’t like draw ring for ‘drawing’
Nor 2 twins (she used to say how many did people think twins were?)
And ‘a bit of’ fluid (milk, custard) instead of ‘drop’ made her wince.

I could go on!

But she was a lovely lady and never nasty.

annab275 Sun 01-Sep-19 10:56:02

thanks all - I don't live with her so don't have to see her too often - great advice - will try and ignore her, although I don't like the idea of her getting away with it which she has for a very long time!

Scribbles Sun 01-Sep-19 12:18:39

I don't want to be an alarmist but I'd endorse what GagaJo said. My maternal grandmother had received a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease shortly before she died. It had manifested very slowly over a number of years, and the first signs we saw of change were exactly as you describe in your MiL.

From being a plain speaker, Grandma became abrasive and rude. On one occasion, she introduced my sister and I to some acquaintances with the words, "these are my granddaughters. Aren't they fat?". It went downhill from there.

If MiL will listen to advice from anyone, it may be a good idea to encourage her to go for a check up.

Esspee Sun 01-Sep-19 12:30:23

On Mumsnet one of the standard put downs suggested in cases like this is saying "Did you mean to be so rude" followed by a long hard stare. Put her on the spot for a change and see how she reacts.

Grannybags Sun 01-Sep-19 12:45:34

Urmstongran I think we had the same mum!

She said all those and more and was also lovely!

phoenix Sun 01-Sep-19 12:47:13

You could try non verbal admonishing!

Practice this in from of the mirror:

Put your head slightly to one side

Bring your chin down towards you chest and purse your lips

Look over the top of your glasses, while slowly shaking your head.

If you don't wear glasses, rolling your eyes and raising your eyebrows works well!

Good luck, she sounds charming (NOT)

phoenix Sun 01-Sep-19 12:48:05

"Front" not "from"!

fizzers Sun 01-Sep-19 13:10:23

perhaps she is developing dementia, or has some mental health issues of her own?

GagaJo Sun 01-Sep-19 13:14:59

Same with the truly lovely mum of a dear friend of mine. A wonderful woman, a beautiful soul, started to develop a nasty side. It took the medics almost 2 years, but eventually she was diagnosed with dementia.

quizqueen Sun 01-Sep-19 13:18:21

If she prides herself on plain speaking, then she shouldn't object to you speaking in the same way as her. I had a great aunt who always tried to rule the roost on everything and when I was a teenager I pulled her up on it and she never tried to tell me what to do again. She still did it though with weaker members of the family.

Madgran77 Sun 01-Sep-19 14:10:13

*You could try non verbal admonishing!

Practice this in from of the mirror:

Put your head slightly to one side

Bring your chin down towards you chest and purse your lips

Look over the top of your glasses, while slowly shaking your head.

If you don't wear glasses, rolling your eyes and raising your eyebrows works well!*

Good advice Phoenix Combining all that with "Oh!" as described previously would be a good tactic!

I dont think you are letting her "get away with it" by doing as above ...instead you are giving her a clear message without the "satisfaction" of causing upset!

Smileless2012 Sun 01-Sep-19 14:18:04

Very good advice Phoenix, I was going to suggest the same to you*annab*. Non verbal responses are the best way of dealing with this, you're shutting down the conversation and IMO engaging on the same level is about as much good as banging your head against a brick wall.

Good luck.

crazyH Sun 01-Sep-19 14:35:09

Well actually, a lot of people say drawring instead of drawing and it really bugs me. I have corrected my grandchildren on that but I would never dream of referring to their weight etc. She is probably concerned, but there is a way of saying things. Age does not give you a licence to say nasty things. Call her an old bag - see how she likes it.

Hithere Sun 01-Sep-19 22:09:11

Does she have a mental condition that made her lose her filter?

She claims she chooses not to censor her verbal thoughts

You can also choose to give her a warning to stop it and if she does it again, remove yourself from her presence.

Tangerine Sun 01-Sep-19 22:20:55

As some of my relations have aged, they have started to be rude and tactless. Beforehand, they'd been very nice people.

As others have said, if she enjoys upsetting people, I wouldn't give her the pleasure of knowing her words had hit home. Not always easy though.

harrigran Mon 02-Sep-19 08:17:29

Sorry but I am with the MIL on this one if you say draw ring you deserve a tongue lashing. I can not tolerate yous either, the plural of you is you. I will say to people "ewes are female sheep".