I'm hoping some of you who are MILs already can help!
I find my PIL extremely difficult to deal with. They are very socially clueless, very controlling, and almost constantly rude - talking over people persistently, refusing to take 'no' for an answer when it's a question of someone's preferences (you are literally forced into a position of being rude!), responding quite inappropriately to emotional subject matter, that kind of thing. They also insist that when we are together we do absolutely everything in company - you can barely get away for 2 minutes to go to the loo between 8am and midnight. I am not alone in finding their behaviour a challenge - DH, BIL and BIL's partner also really struggle.
In my case, however, the problem is exacerbated by gender. MIL cannot stop telling me what to do. I am not exaggerating when I say that she never says anything to me that isn't an order or an instruction or a suggestion for how to improve in future. I find it upsetting, patronising, undermining and infantilising (it's often done in the tone of voice you'd use to a child). I am literally just told I'm doing everything wrong and force-fed unsolicited advice. The worst thing is, I don't think she intends to be anything other than well-meaning, but it doesn't feel that way on the receiving end. It is literally 'do this' or 'do that' constantly for 3 days non-stop.
I feel that this makes me sound really incompetent and in need of advice, but I swear I am not - my house is well-run, clean, and I am a good cook and gardener. I have my own career and I hope I'm a supportive presence to my DH. I have had a really rough time of things lately for health reasons (lots of surgery, which has resulted in permanent, heartbreaking infertility) so life isn't going as well as I had hoped at a personal level - and I probably feel more vulnerable to these critiques than a normal person.
I don't feel I can ask DH for as much support as I would like, because he also has a strained relationship with them. He's 44 and a confident, world leader in his field at work - you would never guess that at home, he just goes to pieces around them personally, to the point that he will be so overfaced that he'll physically vomit (outside a restaurant once!!) or be unable to get out of bed with stomach pains. He has had counselling about his father's bullying (he was very angry and violent growing up - MH issues), which helped but didn't entirely solve the problem. Because of this history, I don't feel it's fair to rely on him to 'have a word' or 'sort the problem' out.
I've tried to engage at a more personal level, but they are clearly very uncomfortable talking about feelings or being in any way trusting. They don't speak to us (or anyone else) as people: however long we know them they still just talk about the weather. We see them about 3-4 times a year for a long weekend (they live a long drive away).
Any advice very gratefully received.
walterbenjamin Mon 16-May-16 14:50:20
dramatictessa Mon 16-May-16 15:09:23
walterbenjamin Mon 16-May-16 15:28:03
thatbags Mon 16-May-16 16:36:57
Luckygirl Mon 16-May-16 16:44:49
LullyDully Mon 16-May-16 16:55:47
Thingmajig Mon 16-May-16 17:07:45
dramatictessa Mon 16-May-16 17:54:01
Newquay Mon 16-May-16 18:53:08
Leticia Mon 16-May-16 19:05:00
Badenkate Mon 16-May-16 19:10:04
Grannyben Mon 16-May-16 20:09:38
FarNorth Mon 16-May-16 21:34:47
aggie Mon 16-May-16 21:45:07
Tresco Mon 16-May-16 23:05:50
Bbnan Mon 16-May-16 23:18:20
f77ms Tue 17-May-16 06:26:03
thatbags Tue 17-May-16 06:38:45
Newquay Tue 17-May-16 07:53:51
walterbenjamin Tue 17-May-16 08:57:14
Wendysue Tue 17-May-16 09:00:20
Wendysue Tue 17-May-16 09:03:43
FarNorth Tue 17-May-16 09:38:31
Leyshir Tue 17-May-16 10:17:02
dizzygran Tue 17-May-16 10:19:25