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DIL advice

(50 Posts)
SwimwithFish Mon 20-Jun-16 20:15:58

Hi Granparents,
I'm actually an intruder here (DIL) looking for advice to help with my MIL and maybe to help give you guys a DIL perspective (if that helps!).
My MIL lives in another country so I don't get to see her often, but when I do its for weeks at a time. I've been married to hubby for only 2yrs and we have one Bub. I'm pretty sure my MIL does not like me (she's passive aggressive, tries to undermine my parenting, thinks the worst of me in situations, thinks I mooch of my hub - I'm a SAHM), we recently had a huge blow up over xmas (she took something my hubby said, thought I said it, threw a huge tantrum wouldn't speak to me for 3 days over xmas, threatened to go back over seas, threatened not to see us for the rest of the trip ect) we agreed it would be bat for her to go to a hotel (neither of us were happy) she wanted to come back after a few days and only wanted to sort things it with me to come back and see GC, otherwise 'what was the point'. I thought we sorted it all out (sort of- I apologised for her hurt feelings, she still blamed me but said to sweep it under the rug).
Well she's still been making passive aggressive comments when we Skype and now she's gone and ignored me! Seriously, she wouldn't even say my name... Referred to me as just 'she' in our conversation, wouldn't say my name the whole time, there was a misunderstanding as we didn't know who MIl was talking about when it was me! (which confused us as we thought she was talking about a cousin, but she would clarify just kept saying 'she'!).
Anyway, hubby wrote her an email as he was pretty upset about it, asking her to just remember her manners and be respectful.
Well he's still upset. I'm pretty sure she thinks I'm doing now it (she previously has thought I kicked her out of the house and wouldn't let her in, that I boss hubby about and that I make him do everything!). But hubby is mid 30s, is making these choices (which I support) and I can see it driving a huge wedge between them!
I can't see her ever liking me, but to her I'm just an incubator- not even a partner for her son!
I don't know what to do (if anything) but thought I'd ask for wisdom from you guys who are probably on the receiving end of this from your own children!

grannylyn65 Mon 20-Jun-16 20:18:59

Oh dear 💐💐
I have a near perfect dil, so sorry to hear of your upset. At Least she lives far away x

SwimwithFish Mon 20-Jun-16 20:22:28

I know distance! Thing is I'm so excited about my child I used to email her with weekly updates and numerous pics. Since xmas I cut it down to once a month, then she keeps offending me my hubby said to stop and now he's dealing with her only! So she misses out on her GC, or my GC misses out on Grandma (very young at the moment but when grown...) also we are sponsoring her to come over so might live close soon(ish)! I stress about this a bit as I wonder what it's going to be like if she was closer!

Pippa000 Tue 21-Jun-16 05:38:41

Is this relationship hindered by cultural differences? I live abroad for 5 - 6 months of the year, and we have part of DS & DiL's house when we are back in UK. This can cause tensions at times, but having a separate part of the house works for us, although I appreciate this is not possible for everyone. Some women just do not appreciate their DiL and feel that they have lost their sons. I am afraid there is very often nothing you can do to change the situation. If she does come over permanently then perhaps a competently different establishment may help, but don't expect too much, I am sorry to say I have a feeling she just will not change. Best wishes for the future.

f77ms Tue 21-Jun-16 05:58:33

Your MIL sounds like a nightmare to be honest . I have always made it my business to get on with my DILs , it makes for a happy life especially where GC are concerned . I would not put up with being called `she` , that is just rude, your hubby should insist that she uses your name . Maybe have a talk with her and offer to draw a line and start again ? mutual respect is always a good starting point especially as she may be moving closer . Good luck !!

SwimwithFish Tue 21-Jun-16 07:23:48

Thanks so much for your replies- I appreciate your thoughts. Sometimes it's good to get a third opinion!
No, not really cultural differences.
She's from the UK, I'm in Australia- so we are more 'relaxed' about traditions etc here.
I do know that she finds it hard to relate to me, and judges my parenting.
She stayed with us for only 4 days before we blew out... She was coming for 3 weeks.
When we visit her we stay in a hotel (our choice- as her accomodation has a smaller bed, and I don't feel comfortable sleeping where I know I'm not really liked).
So we had a huge talk before she left where we kind of left things and we said we would start from scratch and out things behind us, but it seems as if she is passive aggressive and I don't really deal well with that.
Not sure what I can do. She hasn't responded to my hubbys email, though he wasn't looking for a discussion just respect and better behaviour in future.
I know he's hurting- and also getting mad that she is showing a not very nice side to her...
I hope that's answered a few of those questions.

thatbags Tue 21-Jun-16 07:36:54

I'd stop contacting her for a while. Let her do the running. After all, with anyone else that rude one would just walk away.

Passive aggression is very hard to deal with. Stay strong with your husband flowers

thatbags Tue 21-Jun-16 07:39:02

If she wants to come and visit, suggest that she stays in a hotel and is only in your house when both you and your husband are there. Make the relationship formal.

FarNorth Tue 21-Jun-16 07:52:13

Has your hubby not seen this side of her before? So he has no background in how to deal with it?
Maybe he could have a discussion with her on Skype, when you are not present, to explain to her how she is coming across to him and how he would like things to be. It might help her to understand that you are not the enemy.

Might she be anxious about relocating to the other side of the world? Once she is there she might relax and at least then she won't be living in your home.

SwimwithFish Tue 21-Jun-16 08:05:16

Yep, apparently she has tried this with her sister but hubby didn't get involved. She doesn't have too many close friends but her family. I'm also the first woman hubby brought home- so no one to compare to. Hubby didn't really pick up on the P/A until the cams blow up. He lost his dad when he was a teenager so I think he kinda become step in hubby for MIL- but he couldn't deny it any longer, got some help (counsellor) and now is picking up on the P/A and now sticking up for me. Before I would just take it. But I'm a mum now and don't want to live like this forever! I think it's a bad example for kids.
Hubby has written an email but the last chat we had about respect (after xmas) didn't go so well- so he's hesitant to have a repeat of that as she just doesn't listen (quite stubborn, particularly with him too).
She won't be staying in our home again. Hotels only for the future.
I don't know what she's think about the move- we tried to have a chat when she first applie for visas about expectations for grandpa renting etc, but she didn't want to chat about that and shut hubby down completely.
I think I'll go for a more formal approach and just let hubby take the lead... Initiate and maintain the relationship. I do know she thinks it's my fault, the boundaries (she said so at clad). Was disappointed and shocked hubby would stand beside me and not her.

thatbags Tue 21-Jun-16 08:37:24

High five for your husband, then, swim! smile

LullyDully Tue 21-Jun-16 08:51:35

Yes don't get embroiled or take it personally. Just ignore her,she is jealous of you and may not change so do not torture yourself. Been there and have the t shirt.

Synonymous Tue 21-Jun-16 09:16:12

Are you her only family? Are you still sponsoring her to come out to Oz? Will you be taking on any financial responsibility for her? confused
All of this is huge and has incredible ramifications for every one of you if you move your 'problem' closer to you! You may never know peace again. In some instances distance is very much your friend.

SwimwithFish Tue 21-Jun-16 09:29:33

Yep! Hubby has completely shown himself to be a amazing!
He is her only child, she has siblings all over Europe so moving is only to be closer to him. She didn't ask if she could move closer, or what we thought- she kind of just did it. We suggested doing 6months here and then there for a while until she decides if she actually will like living here- but like I said she's stubborn!
She is well off so financially she can do as she pleases and won't be dependent on us. I even asked if we have to move for hubbys job would she be ok here, she replied she would just move too. I quite like the distance, but was happy to have her closer for kids, until she showed her true colours. Now I'm expecting the worst when it happens!
Just don't think there's anything we can do (as I said she won't even discuss expectations- though come to think of it she mentioned have my child one day a week and going on holidays together. Hubby and I both shot that down- it's not how I parent). To be fair I was happy to leave her with Bub to run errands while she was here (until our blow up!) she blamed my hormones (2months post partum) rather than recognise her overstepping into the parent roles.

annemac101 Tue 21-Jun-16 09:51:17

I think you are right to sort this out now before your children are older. You can't let her show that type of behaviour in front of your children. About traditions re Christmas and have a new family so you make your own traditions you do not have to fall in with hers she has to fit in with yours. I would never impose my will on my children or their families. You Hubby should tell her she is welcome to visit on these conditions that she is civil to you in your house and in front of the children,if she can't do that she's not welcome. I'm sorry but I would not be helping her get to Australia. Families are all about give and take and letting your grown up children live their own lives and be privileged to be part of it. Good luck.

Nain9bach Tue 21-Jun-16 10:05:40

Very sad. Sounds like MiL very insecure but her actions are simply alienating her further. Does she have a relative in uk that your hubby could talk to? Use that relative to calmly tell her how her behaviours are ruining the relationship she has with her son's family (you and your children are his family now). My MiL didn't like me either and I asked her sister to talk to her. Things did get better but of course it was never warm. Hope this helps. Good luck.

lizzyann Tue 21-Jun-16 10:13:06

Hi swimwithfish, I do hope you , your husband and your little one are okay. It sounds like your all getting really stressed about your mother in law . I can only imagine . I am a daughter , mother , and a mother in law so I now where you are coming from .You my dear sound like a very nice person trying to keep everyone happy except for yourself , to be honest you can't. First and foremost you really have to look after you, without you everyone and everything is going to suffer.I think your mil has her own issues , and she's need to back down a bit , it's going to be no good in the long run. I respect that your husband is her son but there are boundaries when sons and daughters take wives and husbands , parents need to take a back seat and if they don't this is where it goes wrong . We as mother in law's even if we don't like each goes wrong . you my dear are trying to keep the peace, but it's not your peace to keep , let your husband deal with his mum, if she realises what she will and is missing she might start thinking.Y our mother in law really needs to know her place. Some parents of grown up children don't get it. It is about respect. Your husband should stand and by your side in this situation

cornergran Tue 21-Jun-16 10:18:36

Phew. Firstly your husband is managing this so well. You are only just getting over the birth of your baby. It's a lot to manage and I am sorry you are having to. Can your MIL. come to Australie without your spinsorship? If not then she is being more than foolish in risking lack of contact with you all. It sounds as if lots of conversation is needed between you and your husband to agree a strategy and your own boundaries. If you hold to those life may get easier. Her own home is essential and probably a bad plan to let her have a key to yours. Ground rules from day one after her move. It's a bit like bringing up children, be clear and dont let manipulation happen smile. Your MIL is lucky you are thinking this through and not just rejecting her. Good luck to you all

leanfun Tue 21-Jun-16 10:37:17

Yes, this is very sad you and your husband have tried your best. I too feel I would not be helping her to move. She has not taken up your sensible advice of staying for six months she could rent somewhere, if she has no financial worries. My MIL did not like me one bit and was rude and disrespectful and when we confronted her she used to go to bed her bed and said we made her ill. My husband and I both tried to make things better for all of us and GKs but the situation never improved. My DH is the eldest of five and we did a lot for my MIL but all we got back was upset. Ironically she one day decided to visit relatives in Australia. She upset them a great deal she moved out to someone else and then said she was ill and wanted to come home. All those years ago flights were for say six months. At the time none of us had much money, communications were slow and DH had great difficulty getting her back home. When I first met MIL we had some nice days but these tailed off and it was nothing but headache time. You and DH need to think of your own family.

theresacoo Tue 21-Jun-16 10:38:35

Hi. I had this problem with mine.
All I can say is this- you hold all the cards! I struggled and was upset all the time and felt she was trying to push me out. A friend told me this- The child is yours and she is going to have to play by your rules. Mine was exactly the same. In the end I stood up to her and we seem to get along well ish now. Took 5 years. You and she are trying to learn your roles and its seems she's finding it hard not to be 'The Mother'. The more you put up with rude behaviour from a grown up it will only get worse. Don't be nasty back but firm. If you and your husband stand united she will come round or lose out. It's like having a child with some mil. Ignore/ deal with bad behaviour and reward good! Good luck.

Juney64 Tue 21-Jun-16 10:43:01

This is a nightmare situation. She has no right to treat you like this. I think there are two things going on here. She blames you for taking her Son away and therefore refuses to acknowledge you. She has money so thinks she can treat you however she likes and you'll both 'take it' as you'll want her money when she's gone.

Since she's rejecting you, the only recourse is for her Son to tackle her by being frank. She needs to understand that you and your children are now the focus of her Son's life and that's as it should be. It would be worth slipping into the conversation that you are financially independent. She won't like it and she may fall out with you for a while. However, that will give her thinking time and I feel sure she'll come round.

She needs to accept that her chick has 'flown the coop'. I have three sons who are all settled with their wives and partners and it's sure hard letting your 'babies' go but it's the circle of life. If there is no 'straight talking' at this stage nothing will change. If there is going to be time of 'falling out' it would be unkind to not explain why to her. Deep down, she probably knows anyway.

A kind but heartfelt email from your Son is probably best as she can't interrupt or argue with him the way she's doing on Skype. I think it's important that her Son gets across to her that she's still very loved but his relationship with her has changed (or grown) and that when she's unkind to you, it hurts him. In my experience, stubborn people can take straight talking... maybe even an ultimatum. She needs to be told that she's interfering and insensitive to you both and that you're trying to find ways to avoid her because of her approach. Harsh, but she needs to know. Her Son should then ask her to respond to his email by email. That way she has to read it slowly. It's unlikely that the rest of her family will be disapproving as they've probably seen her attitude for themselves.

You, your husband and your MIL are all unhappy anyway regarding this situation so you may as well be unhappy with at least the hope that things are going to be better by straight talking.

Bless you - you shouldn't have to be dealing with this, especially post-partum. You sound like a really nice person to me. .

Best of luck to you.

Craftycat Tue 21-Jun-16 11:16:30

I feel so sorry for you- I have 2 wonderful DiL & I love them to bits. I'm not sure I'd be too happy to have her in Oz- what happens when she gets older & needs help. Sounds as if you will be the carer if you're not careful.I think you need to establish some boundaries right now- or your husband does anyway. I'm sure she loves him deep down but she should see you as her ally not her enemy. I'm not saying that the relationship between Mil & DiL is easy- it has to be worked on but it has to be based on mutual respect. I am very careful to always take the view that DiL is right in all decisions about child rearing & never give advice unless I am asked. Consequently we all get on very well indeed & the children come to stay with us a lot & are encouraged to do so by their parents- we don't live far away from them.
Your priority is your child & husband & if she can't respect that then I would have as little to do with her as possible & only ever see her in company- never alone with her as she will twist all you say.
I do wish you well- hopefully things will improve as your baby gets older & she can start to relate to her GC.
Good luck.

SwimwithFish Tue 21-Jun-16 11:31:38

Thank you all so much for your lovely words of encouragement. I was hoping we could all get along but that might take a while.
I've taken your words on board and will have a chat with hubby about how we will proceed from here- maybe waiting a few more weeks before we make contact and after a few (hopefully good) conversations he can chat with her about her move and expectations.
Thank you all again for taking the time to comment!

jaspersgran Tue 21-Jun-16 12:12:26

Hi SimwithFish. I have a wonderful SIL and also a wonderful DIL. BUT I have another DIL who sounds just like your MIL. She lies and manipulates my son and has caused countless problems within what was our very close family. I have tried everything with her, but I am afraid she has now caused so much hurt, I won't stay at the house. My son is a wonderful caring father to his two children, but she still makes him feel he is a bad father and husband. Can't go into too much detail, but she is a witch!!! They have separated a couple of times, but each time get back together, having sorted none of their differences.
Good luck to you with your MIL.

mulberryruth Tue 21-Jun-16 12:35:04

I have to say that you hold all the cards. My advice to you would be to stay calm, be fair and firm. Look at all the worry this is causing you. You don't need it and instead of being supportive she is causing you distress. There may be many reasons but jealousy is usually lurking there somewhere. Remember you have her son and grandchild, but you are the wife and mother. She needs to move into her new role if indeed she has the wisdom/desire to do so. If she comes to stay for long periods of time she is in your space and things/ routines should carry on as usual. If she says something which makes you feel negative ask her to repeat it in a calm manner, she will then realise that you understand her comments for what they are but are not afraid to hear them and she will seem petty when she hears her words for the second time. Say things like 'I'm sorry I didn't quite catch that', 'can you clarify what you are saying etc..... Be strong, as I said before you hold all the cards.