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Sad DIL seeking advice

(18 Posts)
Backedintoacorner Tue 26-Feb-13 10:24:10

Hello all, I've popped over from mumsnet and wondered if you could share some advice/wisdom... apologies in advance as this may be long.

I had my daughter almost 2years ago, I always thought that MIL and I had a decent relationship, I'd go as far as to say I loved her (perhaps why what she said/did hurt me so much). After my DD was born she changed almost completely. We asked them to wait for me to have a shower etc when we got home from the hospital and we would call them to come to meet her as I was discharged 6hrs after birth, they ignored this and turned up straight away. I asked her to call before visiting after she barged straight in a couple of times unannounced, once finding me in my under wear a week post birth sad she went bonkers at this suggestion told everyone that I was forcing her to make an appointment to see her grandchild, despite the fact it was DP who had the conversation with her. She decided that if she had to call first she would rather not come at all (totally disproportionate). She then started texting DP saying we had spoiled her being a granny and making demands to have DD overnight/on her own- she was completely self-centered with no consideration as to our feelings/wishes. I said no, she was welcome to come to ours as long as she called first. Things went rapidly down hill, she said some really nasty things both to me and about me to other people. That she wished DP had never met me, I was the worst thing that ever happened to him, called me a liar about various things where DP knows I was telling the truth, swore/shouted etc etc

After a particularly scathing letter from her about a year ago outlining all my failings including leaving clothes on DPs bedroom floor when he still lived with them 8 yeards ago DP cut off all contact (she really scraped the barrell of every negative thing she could say about me), I haven't seen her for about 1.5yrs.

In the last few months shes decided she's sorry. She wants us all to brush it under the carpet and play happy families. DP has met with her a few times to discuss and I can tell he wants his Mum back in his life. I think I need to do it for him but I've no idea how. I wish when we asked her to call she just say 'ok, no problem' like my own mum did, she said so many horrible hurtful things about me that the thought of being in a room with her never mind handing my daughter over to her makes me feel sick. How do I get over the hurt and the hate and the anxiety??

Thank you for any help you can offer x

Movedalot Tue 26-Feb-13 10:36:26

Perhaps you could meet on neutral ground the firs time? That might make it easier for you. Is there a messy play centre or some other child centred place where you could have a coffee and watch DD play?

Perhaps you could agree not to discuss the past as doing so might mean recriminations from one or other of you. Just start afresh and see how it goes.

If you explain that you treat your Mother the same she is more likely to acccept it. It does seem that there are often issues with the man's mother and the man's partner, with a lot of misunderstanding going on. It must be much easier with your own Mother as a lot of your communication will be unspoken. If you try to see her point of view and she tries to see yours I am sure you can each accommodate the other.

Just think how much better all your lives will be if you can all get on.

Good luck

Bags Tue 26-Feb-13 10:39:22

Oh dear! I feel for you. I would find that kind of rude, intrusive behaviour intolerable as well. I'm no good at advice, but I'd be inclined to lock my door (change the lock or add a chain if she has a key) so that she can't just barge in again. And other such assertiveness. But be (coolly) polite about it. All the best.

Backedintoacorner Tue 26-Feb-13 10:39:30

thanks, will have a think about that. We did tell her at the time (repeatedly) that we had asked my own Mum to do the same, she just ignored it though.

absent Tue 26-Feb-13 10:41:35

Backedintoacorner Gosh what a seething cauldron of powerful feelings. I sympathise as my first mother-in-law was a very possessive and bossy woman – possessive of her son and her only grandchild and determined to organise our family life according to how she thought it ought to be regardless of anyone else's feelings, notably mine. She also said a lot of nasty things about me to me, to my husband and, worst of all, to my daughter.

From the opposite point of view, it is quite hard to temper one's excitement and enthusiasm when first becoming a granny and it is possible to look as if one is taking over. My daughter had to remind me last year when I was staying with her to help after the birth of her fifth child that, in her house, when someone says "Mum", they mean her not me!

However, this insensitive dreadnought of a woman is your partner's mum and your child's grandmother and all credit to you that you are contemplating some sort of rapprochement. If you are going to meet up, I would suggest neutral territory for the first occasion at least. What about meeting in the playground at the local park with the possibility of coffee and cake in a nearby cafe afterwards. Be firm but polite when it is time to leave because you have already arranged to go somewhere else so coming home with you is not on the menu.

You don't have to "hand your daughter over to her" unless and until you feel comfortable in doing so. In any case, she needs to build a relationship with her granddaughter over time. It is perfectly reasonable to consider that, as a pre-schooler (I'm guessing that she is 18–24 months), your daughter is a bit too young for sleep-overs, even with family. Try to keep the tone light – I know it's hard.

I am sure that you will find all sorts of replies – porobably much more helpful than this – from other Gransnetters.

Good luck and let us know how you get on.

Backedintoacorner Tue 26-Feb-13 10:48:36

Thanks, I do understand that much of her initial behaviour was excitement and if she had just taken some time and realised, called and apologised it would have been forgotten but she continued to build it. She also talked about it/me to many others in the family. I remained silent as I felt 'least said, soonest mended' but she really managed to turn much of his family agaist us with her side of the story. I found the letter particularly pre-meditated, had she written it (to vent her own feelings) I would understand, but to actually put a stamp on it and post it was a step beyond- i can't imagine what she hoped it would achieve other than to hurt us.

Do you think meeting with DD is the right thing? I had wondered if it might be best if she was't there to try to curb my tiger mum/cub instinct...

Thanks again, I really appreciate your views. If i'm going to try to do this I need to give it the best chance of success as I don't think i could try again.

glammanana Tue 26-Feb-13 10:53:22

Backedintoacorner I agree with all moved has said but I would tend to meet this lady on my own without your DD for the first time as you would not want your child to pick up any bad feelings between you both,if you decide to give her the benefit of the doubt and resume contact with her do it on your & your DPs terms so she will understand that is how you mean to go on.It seems such a shame your DD is missing out on this side of her family but your DPs mother should realize that your relationship with your own mum works well using the guidelines you have stated,and that in most cases young mums do tend to gravitate towards their own mum's.Good luck and give her a chance to redeem herself she is probably realizing her mistakes.

merlotgran Tue 26-Feb-13 11:04:09

Backedintoacorner. You probably won't get over the hurt and anger but if you learn to live with it you will emerge victorious as she sounds like a tricky woman to handle.

My daughter had a similar problem when she was married and living in Northern Ireland. Her mother in law was very controlling and it got to the point where DD would shut herself in the bedroom with the baby if she heard the dreaded car pull up outside. Eventually the health visitor intervened and although it took a couple of years, they eventually became fairly close.

Good luck.

nanapug Tue 26-Feb-13 11:59:01

This sounds exactly like my DDs story after she had her children. Each time my DD sorted out times for us all to visit in hospital to make it fair, and fit in with hospital visiting times. I, as her Mum, understood and stuck to the timetable exactly, as it was the right thing to do; but her MIL said it was her GC and she would not be told when to visit and messed up all the arrangements and stayed when it was my turn which made me so angry. I think it is related to the fact that they are jealous of the relationship a DIL has with their Mum and realise they may not have that close relationship, and they are trying to assert their "rights". Not having a son I don't fully understand it but it is story I hear so often.
Give her a chance to make it up as it is her GC, but if she doesn't stick to your rules (which must be endorsed and fully supported by your OH) then tell her to go on her way. We have a rule - your child, your rules. That is the only way you will be able to trust her and you need to make that very clear. Good luck xx

LullyDully Tue 26-Feb-13 11:59:21

my heart goes out to you, women have no right behaving like that. Sadly the father's mother is usually a problem {I have 2 sons and have adopted the laid back helpful approach I hope}.

Fell out with MIL finally and DH had to visit her alone with the boys for 5 years. She accused me of all sorts including affairs. It kept the peace but she did miss out on Christmas! DH on my side 100% which helped. Met finally at a familyl funeral and we agreed to forget the past and were friends {not buddies} until she died. I think she realised she had blown it. I had reached the conclusion that I was a fool to put up with it for so many years and that her tirades were bad for the kids.

Hopefully Backedinacorner, it will not come to that and she will see sense. Rely on DP, ball is in his court to continue supporting you first... sad.

Stansgran Tue 26-Feb-13 13:14:46

Why are women so horrible to other women? Perhaps you could suggest your MIL goes online to Gransnet. She will be given good advice. I've looked at my own behaviour when I've put in writing and seen it through others eyes and tried to moderate it.

Stansgran Tue 26-Feb-13 13:20:33

Btw I always felt totally safe handing over my DDs to my MIL although she disliked me . But if you feel sick at the thought of handing DD over then you really mustn't

glassortwo Tue 26-Feb-13 13:40:46

backedinacorner this sound very like the relationship I had with my MIL in the first 2-3yrs, it started from the day we got engaged. When my first was born she thought she could brush everything that had been said and done under the carpet and be happy families.
But I was stubborn (maybe looking back I could say I was holding a grudge against her because of what had happened and maybe now it all seems a little childish) things carried on until I felt ready to offer a olive branch because at the end of the day it was my DH Mum and my DS Grandma.

She died 8 years ago and from my point of view I can say that it is possible for things to change, she became someone I could depend on and considered her my friend.

So good luck to you and if you can give it a go you will feel you have tried........ if it doesnt work out its her loss.

J52 Sat 30-Mar-13 11:26:57

New to Gransnet ,so this may be out of date! My MIL behaved in a very similar way, although she was given "carte blanch" to visit etc at any time. One day after making elaborate plans to visit, take our two small sons out, she changed her mind at the last minute. On being asked politely why( over the phone). She launched into an unforgiving criticism of me and our children. Announcing that her then only other (girl) grandchild was her priority in life. We were stunned, she then ignored us for 2 and a half years. Despite family weddings etc. unfortunately her behaviour was supported by her husband and two other sons?? We could not fathom why, other than to not 'rock the boat'. When we were about to move to another part of the country, we just went round one day and it was if nothing had happened. Now a granny, I think how sad it was for her to have that type of personality and what a lesson I learnt. The only opinion to have as a MIL is NOT to have one! I just smile and take round home made cakes,

Mishap Sat 30-Mar-13 12:19:07

Your MIL really blew it didn't she? I would guess she knows she did, but pride is holding her back.

Why might she have behaved like this I wonder? - aggression (which is what this is) usually hides fear. What was she afraid of? - her son loving someone (you) more than her; being left out or whatever.

So, let's start with the premise that her anxieties have caused all this and it is NOT your fault! So where do you go from here?

First and foremost any plan must be discussed with your DP in detail and the two of you must formulate a way forward that you both agree to - there may need to be a bit of compromise, but I promise you that if there is a chink in your joint "armour" then whatever solution you plan will fail.

This plan needs to include whether you are both happy for MIL to care for your child ("handing her over") or whether this needs to be something that happens much further down the line when MIL and child have got to know each other.

There will be a way forward but it must be a JOINT way forward; and you need to be candid with your MIL - say that it is hard to forgive what has gone before and to understand the reasons for her behaviour. But also say you recognise the value of grandparents and that you want to find a way to mend fences. Definitely meet her with your child not there - and preferably with DP there.

I wish you lots of luck with this - families eh? - who'd have 'em?

soop Sat 30-Mar-13 12:27:47

I am sad for you backedintoacorner, your partner and MIL. For everyone's sake, I would suggest a truce. I'm convinced that, if you both make an effort to understand each other, you will both feel so much better. Patience is the

ninathenana Sat 30-Mar-13 17:45:52

DD has never had a good relationship with her MIL. She was never allowed into her husbands family home before they married.
DD has never forgiven her MIL for the fact she got to hold DD first born before she did. DD had c-section and still coming round when MIL and FIL arrived at the hospital despite being asked by her son not too.
Have to admire DD though as she has never let her feelings show. DD says she couldn't deprive the boys access to their GPs or OH contact with his mum, even though he agrees she's a stupid cow (his words)

I sympathize and hope you can find a solution. As usual some wise words have already been said.

j08 Sat 30-Mar-13 18:01:54

I have left a reply to this OP on the "new Grandma needing advice" thread. By mistake.

You may, or may not, want to read it.