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Isn't this a simple logic

(85 Posts)
Dove Fri 23-Mar-18 23:44:01

Some basic background info :
I cut my mother in law out of my life in order to protect my own mental health.
I am not happy if my children go to see her, but I didn't stop it from happening.
I do actively encourage my husband to call and see his mother. Unfortunately, he isn't keen.

So to many of you, I may be the horrible daughter in law. I understand there are different perspectives. I just want to ask, if

A mother in law wants to spend a lot of time with Son, Daughter in law and grandchildren, surely the son's family must have been a pleasure to be with;

However, the son and the DIL don't want the mother in law to be around 'too much', it only means that the MIL isn't a good companion, right?

What do people think?

MissAdventure Sat 24-Mar-18 00:40:10

Well, mum in law may only be tolerating the daughter in law, or maybe even only tolerating the grandchildren in order to see her son.
Or possibly tolerating her son in order to see the grandchildren..
Its a minefield, from what I can gather.

Faye Sat 24-Mar-18 01:19:40

That’s very sad Dove, have you given any thought to how your DC feel about not getting to see their GM. A grandparent is an important person in a GC’s life, don’t underestimate the benefits for your DC to have regular contact with their GM. Be very careful you are not teaching your DC how to treat you in the future when you are old and lonely.

When one of my GC was around four years old, his mother, my DIL told him I was coming to visit. She told me that unfortunately she had told him three weeks before I was due to arrive, she should have waited until the day before. Everyday for three weeks he wanted to know when I was arriving. One day he got very anxious and insisted that they go immediately to the airport because “Grandma would be there waiting for them to pick her up.” Can you imagine how anxious many children feel, especially those who have previously spent a lot of time with their GM after being being cut off from a beloved grandparent. You might not like your MIL but your children might love her very much. Your DC can never have enough people in their lives that truly love them. People have enough hang ups and mental health problems when they grow up without their parents adding to them.

paddyann Sat 24-Mar-18 01:20:28

everyone's idea of too much will be different,I popped into my parents house most days on my way from work...we socialised with them and they came to us for Birthdays ,Easter ,Christmas.Hogmanay ..they didn't look after our children as my mother had ill health.I think the secret is you all have to like each other ,my OH loved my parents and I love his mum and learned to like his dad .I see a lot of my kids because again we socialise together and have similar interests.A relationship would have to be really toxic for me to cut off family or to stop my children from visiting GP's In fact I cant think of anything that would cause me to turn my back on family.Only you know if thats the case and if it was justified

stella1949 Sat 24-Mar-18 03:10:31

*I am not happy if my children go to see her, but I didn't stop it from happening.
I do actively encourage my husband to call and see his mother. Unfortunately, he isn't keen.*

I'm rather puzzled by your statements. You do know that your opinions would have a big impression on your children, and your husband. You say that you've cut her off but then say well, the others can see her if they want to ....despite knowing how I feel.

I suspect that your husband and children are afraid to see her because of your opinions about her.

Families are precious things. Yours seems to be broken into pieces because of your own opinions and actions. Be careful - in the future this could come back and bite you. Good luck.

HAZBEEN Sat 24-Mar-18 09:51:16

I think before anyine judges whether you are right or wrong they would need to know more background especially to the statement "to protect my mental health". I personally had a very good relationship I thought with my (2nd) MIL even though my OH didnt. There were stories in the family about how toxic she was but I took her at face value. That changed about 3 years ago when she turned on me for something trivial. I have backed off but I still encourage OH to keep contact and I am polite and hopefully nice to her when our paths cross. Luckily in my case there are no DGC involved but I do agree with other posters you need to tread carefully with letting DH and DC see or here your fellings.

HAZBEEN Sat 24-Mar-18 09:52:27

Sorry about the typos, still not fully awake this morning!

Dove Sat 24-Mar-18 10:06:34

Yes I did see threads talking about situations like the ones you mentioned. And I totally agree with you.

I guess I just didn't make it clear enough. I mean when we feel that we are excluded/ not included/ however we call it. How do we deal with situation? Point our fingers to the person/people who don't like us to be around and call them 'bad children' 'bad DIL/SIL'? Immediately self-victimise and adopt a poor-me mentality? Comfort myself by thinking there's Karma and the people 'exclude' me would be cut out by their own offsprings in the future, and gain pleasure from thinking that? grin

What would solve the problems and what wouldn't?

Dove Sat 24-Mar-18 10:07:30

The last comment meant to reply MissAdventure. =)

Dove Sat 24-Mar-18 10:20:26

Thank you Faye. I partly agree with you. The part that I don't agree is , if my children found me treating them in the way my MIL treated me, they should really cut me out.
I teach my children to learn to treasure and be grateful for the love they receive, never take people for granted. And I also encourage them to stand up for themselves when they are being disrespected, insulted, or bullied. smilesmilesmile

Dove Sat 24-Mar-18 10:34:22

Paddyann, I love your comment. What is 'just right'? What is 'too much'? Who gets to decide? A relationship involves two parties. Discussion, negotiations and an empathetic mind are essential.

Dove Sat 24-Mar-18 10:50:45

Stella, my husband moved out of my MIL's house as soon as he could, way before he met me, even though when there were only the two of them. I guess the common mistake that MILs make is to blame the DILs/SILs for not having a close relationship with their own offsprings.

And my children do see her still. I just don't actively arrange that like I did before. My husband arranges it if he wants.

It is very interesting to read your comment though. When a person is cut out from another's life, it seems that it isn't that important to ask why and listen to both sides? The person who is cut off would immediately become the victim and the person who avoid contact must be the villain? hmm

M0nica Sat 24-Mar-18 11:04:26

A MiL is not a 'companion' she is the mother of the SiL/DiL, gave birth to them, brought them up and loves them. Having said that, there is not a sub-species of 'human' called MiL, specially bred for the purpose. MiL's are a random sample from the 50% of humanity that are female and among that 50%, that includes DiLs, there are the nice, the loving, the ghastly and the barking. There are also two nice people, one a MiL the other DiL, who nevertheless are so different they do not get on.

That a MiL wants to be with her DS and his family, does not mean she likes you. It means she loves her son and, by extension her DGC and DiL if she can. Liking doesn't enter into it.

You also need to think why you have a problems with her and cut her some line. Your MiL has a back story, there is probably a reason why she behaves the way she does for which you can should show sympathy and understanding, and also consider the possibility that you are the cause of the problem. Do you make your MiL feel inadequate or defensive? Even if you say nothing does your whole demeanour make it clear to her you have no respect for her. That would as sure as hell make me ansi with anyone.

The best thing to do is not to go into constant deep analysis. Just you and your DH sit down and think about practical and positive ways you can solve the problem. Plan a visiting pattern that enables the children to see their DGM at reasonable intervals with their father present and only invite her to your house on family occasions when there are plenty of other people to dilute her.

Stop thinking of all the negatives and try and work out a positive solution.

NanaandGrampy Sat 24-Mar-18 11:24:10

Most sensible post I've seen on this subject Monica in a long , long while . The OP would do well to really give your post some thought.

DHarris Sat 24-Mar-18 11:47:04

Message deleted by Gransnet. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

MissAdventure Sat 24-Mar-18 11:48:22


MissAdventure Sat 24-Mar-18 11:50:41

Just a thought. Do 'elephant removals' pack your things into trunks?

Dove Sat 24-Mar-18 12:09:22

I don’t agree, Monica. I am sorry if my post triggered some unpleasant feelings for you or other grans and might have ‘made’ anyone defensive. (I’m trying to use your wordings here).

If you got a chance to give advice to my mother in law, what would you say?

M0nica Sat 24-Mar-18 22:54:24

I am curious why your immediate response was to assume that our responses were triggered by unpleasant feelings or defensiveness faced with your OP

It triggers no unpleasant feelings in me at all. I had a wonderful MiL. At times she was easier to talk to than my own mother, who I loved dearly. I also have the happiest of relationships with my DDiL, we swap clothes, have days out together and have just discovered we both have the same favourite cookery book. We stay with her mother when we visit. I have nothing to be defensive about.

I have read all the posts on this thread several times and I can see nothing in a single email that could justify your response. Most show love and understanding for your position and draw on their own experience to offer you help.

Do you know the answer you want and is it just that we are not giving it?

M0nica Sat 24-Mar-18 22:58:10

Post above posted it self! I was drinking my coffee, hands nowhere near key board when up it came as posted.

Since I know neither you nor your MiL and you give only the vaguest of information about your problems, I would not dream of giving anyone specific advice in that situation.

grannyqueenie Sat 24-Mar-18 23:16:24

Sometimes. only sometimes mind you, I think my family life is complicated. Then I look on here and realise it really isn’t, and for that I’m very grateful. Mostly we all get on and that’s ok, but sometimes we don’t and that’s ok too because no matter what there’s still a commitment to stick with it because we do care about each other. We certainly don’t agree all of the time and every now and then there are tensions. There’s nothing like how folk bring up their children/ indulge their pets/spend their money to show up the cracks! No doubt some would say it’s an over simplistic view but it works for me and I’m sticking with it.

Dove Sun 25-Mar-18 00:26:05

I’m glad to know you didn’t have unpleasant feelings at all, Monica. While you said you didn’t know enough info to give advice to anyone, you did give advice to me after all. smile and because you made that effort to give advice, I took that it’s a topic that you personally felt a lot about.
I don’t look for a specific answer. I don’t aim to hurt. I am still thinking what if my children don’t want to see me one day, what would I do? I have also read a lot of threads on Gransnet and I realised if a fallout situation happened, let’s say between friends, or even a couple, the comments would never be the same.
You are right, MILs mostly want to be with her son and GC, they don’t have to like their DILs! But how do you justify that it’s the unliked DIL ‘s responsibilties to plan a patterned visit and even entertain the MIL who doesn’t like her? hmm
The most important message I learnt in my therapies is, if I want a situation to change, I change my behaviour. And I did. That’s why I decided to stop seeing my MIL. But in retrospect, I could have done more to save the relationship, I didn’t have the courage to be more assertive, particularly at the beginning of our relationship , and I didn’t have the courage to express my resentment earlier - I let the resentment rolled like a snowball until it got too big and suffocated.
Failure has its value. We all agree that there are two sides of a story but when it happens to us, oh it’s another story. My relationship with my MIL failed but I hope for those who’s not too late or too proud to mend, mend it.

Faye Sun 25-Mar-18 06:57:51

Dove I had been thinking about your post and what I wrote and then had a look and saw your reply. What I will admit to doing something I find a tad annoying on GN which when people only see their own experience ie I am a very caring GM and MIL and do my best for my family so therefore every MIL is basically doing her best. I know for a fact that isn’t true so my advice to you should have been.....

You cut your MIL off because of her treatment to you, so therefore you are not and nor should you ever be (it’s not your job) be the one who arranges or reminds your DH to see his DM. Nor would I welcome her into my home. If your MIL was a nice enough person she would have welcomed you into her family and in return been welcomed to your home.

If your DC have a good enough relationship with their GM they could see her with their DF. If she is nasty to your DC then don’t force them to see her.

There certainly are some awful, toxic people around. One of my first unpleasant memories is of my maternal GM. It’s not very nice to have to spend family celebrations with people who show they dislike you even though you are very young.

BlueBelle Sun 25-Mar-18 07:35:24

Well you are not going to like my post so gird your loins

I don’t understand your need to ask this question on here if you have been in ‘therapies’ over this very situation surely you have chewed it over and over for ever and why then the need to ask a set of complete strangers with no knowledge of your family dynamics to judge that you are right and she is wrong which is what your last question on your original post asks.
Why on earth are you asking Monica what you should say to your mother in law ask your therapist

mumofmadboys Sun 25-Mar-18 08:50:29

I feel if we love our DHs we need to do our utmost to love their families too. Of course it may not be easy!!