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My new mother in law

(95 Posts)
Silverlady79 Sat 24-Aug-19 13:52:26

It’s her sons Second marriage to me....maybe she’s finding it a bit hard as she’s old, but her behaviour to me is Becoming more and more upsetting. . She waits until my husband is out of the room and will then make a hurtful comment to me or about me.usually about my weight.

My birthday gift was soaps wrapped up in secondhand paper ...they were clearly a gift to her that she didn’t want .. It’s not about being greedy I promise you but it does make me feel really shit... just a few flowers would’ve been nice. Husbands birthday present came today for him , a cheque for £500. I told him how hurt I felt but it didn’t really register.

The question is, do I cut her out of as much as I don’t feel I can’t cope well with obvious dislike... She has a history Of DIL’s not having anything to do with her after being cruel to them.

cas58 Thu 29-Aug-19 20:55:34

Nannandgrampy, uh uh, giving a shit gift is more insulting than no gift at all. She knows exactly what she's doing,

Starlady Thu 29-Aug-19 06:09:16

Love your post, GoldenAge!

LOL, Mamma66!

Tedber, you deserve a medal! But not all DILs can rise above so easily.

Starlady Thu 29-Aug-19 06:00:50

Oops! I see some of my comments repeated what others had already said. Well, that just shows I agree.

Starlady Thu 29-Aug-19 05:53:15

Silverlady, I'm so sorry MIL is so rude and cruel. My first thought was, don't be in a room alone w/ her. If DH leaves the room, find a reason to leave w/ him and don't reenter until he does. If he notices it, and asks why, let him know.

If you do find yourself alone w/ MIL and she makes a nasty remark, I would challenge her on it (Whatever did you mean by that?"). If she follows w/ anothe rude comment, let her know you think it's rude. But be prepared for her to protest she was "only joking" or "didn't mean it the way you took it" or that you're "too sensitive." Never mind. She'll begin to realize you're onto her and not going to tolerate it anymore. Or yes, maybe record her, as some have suggested.

As for gifts, I wouldn't worry about it too much anymore. She may actually believe she's "supposed to" gift her DS more generously than an inlaw. And yes, she may make it a habit to recycle old paper. (I have a cousin who does this. Some people think it's practical and clever, others find it cheap, and still others, don't care.) But if you really think she's deliberately being rude via gifts, then I wouldn't buy her any at all. No, I wouldn't "stoop to her level" by going cheap, I would just leave her gifts up to DH from now on. She's his mum, after all.

If you get to the point where you really would rather not be around her, I think that's ok as long as you don't try to stop DH from seeing her. She may feel snubbed and hurt, but what does she expect after all her rude comments, etc? Besides, maybe she would really rather just be w/ DS.

Gotta, I think I would have to draw the line at physical abuse. No way would I go near this woman again, and no way would she be welcome in my home. And so what if DH is "horrified" if you tell him - he should be! He can visit her on his own, if he wants, but, IMO, no way should you accompany him to a woman who is abusive to you. And if he decides not to visit her anymore, as you fear, more power to him! IMO, he should take a stand against her abusing his wife. But I realize he might have conflicting emotions when it comes to his mum. So he may still want to see her, but he shouldn't expect you to.

Or perhaps he won't be as shocked as you think. If she has been doing this to SIL all these years, perhaps she has always been abusive, and DH will have stories to tell you. I suspect she tries to see if she can get away w/ one slap, and if she can, there will be more. Don't give her the chance.

Minxie, love your idea!

Madgran77 Wed 28-Aug-19 10:07:41

Tedber Thinking about it, I think that is good advice and probably the best response really.

Tedber Tue 27-Aug-19 19:35:13

As a young wife of a man who was married previously and never matched up to his first wife in MIL eyes....(She was tall, slim, brainy and beautiful) All the opposite of me! Oh boy did she revel in telling me! My advice is IGNORE it!!

My husband loved ME and that's all I needed.

Sadly he died very young and left me alone and MIL suddenly started 'liking' me! All deceased now and I look back and am grateful I didn't let her attitude affect me or my relationship. Be the bigger person Silverlady. Life is too short.

Mamma66 Tue 27-Aug-19 16:01:02

If you’re feeling brave and so inclined I know a sure fire way to immediately stop her from making nasty comments. It does require a degree of bravery and all it will achieve is curbing her behaviour rather than be the start of an improved relationship.

I know a chap who responds to bad behaviour by having an extreme reaction that basically embarrasses the bully. So for example, I once saw him shaking hands with another man who tried to crush his hand. His response? To scream very loudly and drop to the floor. The hand squeezer (who was notorious for doing this) was completely shocked and embarrassed and never tried it again. Obviously I am not suggesting you fall to the floor, but the loudest and most theatrical sobbing imaginable and rushing out of the room (ideally with an audience) should stop her in her tracks. Alternatively look amused and mutter to yourself a cryptic comment about how you had been warned etc (loud enough for her to hear of course). Smirking winds people up no end. Obviously I would never normally use these tactics or suggest being mean, but she started it and if she’s big enough to dole it out she’s big enough to get it back. Good luck whatever approach you decide to take 🍀

GoodMama Mon 26-Aug-19 14:23:42

Silverlady79, I hope you are doing well. Have you had a chance to discuss with your husband and see where he is on his mother's behavior?

sarahanew Mon 26-Aug-19 12:42:10

As we get older we need less stuff and regifting is a good idea, saving money for those on small budgets too. Reusing wrapping paper is very green and something my mother always tried to do when I was growing up. I would assume she thought you would happy with the soaps. Each generation has differing ideas about what other generations like. Take gifts in the way they're meant regardless of whether you actually like the item itself

pce612 Mon 26-Aug-19 12:23:18

Give her the soaps back, she might take the hint.
How many DsIL has she had/got? Were they all rejects from the same spouse?
She sounds like my MIL (now dead, thankfully). Nightmare.
Good Luck!!!

Shropshirelass Mon 26-Aug-19 08:45:18

PS. I think that by giving her son such a lot of money for his birthday, she is trying to buy his affection. Strange tactics.

Shropshirelass Mon 26-Aug-19 08:43:14

Mothers being over protective and jealous of their son’s wife/partner. After all she feels you have taken him away from her. I would ignore her, sit there on a higher pedestal than hers knowing that her son adores you. That is all that matters. Presents are material things, you have love.

jocork Mon 26-Aug-19 07:52:30

When I was going out with my ex husband my 'MIL to be' tried to split us up. She wasn't happy that I was overweight and a few years older than him. I think her big worry was that I wouldn't give her the grandchildren she longed for. She once asked him "Why don't you find someone younger and slimmer?" I don't know to this day whether she knows that he told me that.
She constantly made comments about weight, bought me a 'weightwatchers' cookbook and soon after we returned from honeymoon she and FIL started asking when we were planning to start a family. When ex H said "But you were married for 4 years before you had me!" the response from FIL was "But I didn't marry someone older than myself!"
After the birth of my DD they seemed to improve their views of me, and MIL even used the expression "My lovely DIL" when referring to me! Essentially it was all about getting what she wanted.
When I got a promotion at work (which happened to come on my birthday bout 2 years into our marriage) she rang up to say 'Happy Birthday' and I told her I had some good news. She got quite excited and obviously thought I was going to tell her I was pregnant, so when I said I'd been promoted, her response was "So how long do you intend to keep on working?" In the end my DD was born just over 4 years after we married! She never did congratulate me on the promotion just went silent on the end of the phone!
When we split up it was because my H was having an affair. His new partner was 2 sizes bigger than me (even after 2 lots of post baby weight I was carrying) so MIL was never going to approve! She always has something negative to say about her whenever I see her. She also has had a lot of negative things to say about her other son's wife. I guess no-one would ever be good enough for her darling boys!
I still see her at family occasions. She came to my son's PhD graduation last year and spent a great deal of time talking to me about my repacement's faults! I think she has become quite a sad lonely widow in her old age.
When my son married I told my new (very lovely) DIL that I'd learnt from my MIL how not to behave and hoped she would benefit from my experience. I'm sure I'll make different mistakes but on the whole I think we have a really good relationship.
I never called my MIL out for her snide comments when I was still with ex H but I wish I had. Now I have more confidence and on the occasions I do see her I stick up for myself much more and ignore any negativity from her. I find it amusing that she seems to now see me as 'better' than his new partner. After all I was the one who gave her her adored GC. She will never change though. I don't think she entirely approves of my son's wife because of her chosen vocation - she is training to be a vicar - and one of my DIL's family friends described her as 'very opinionated' the day after the wedding so she had obviously had things to say at the wedding reception where they were seated together! I'm just glad that, as the 'ex', I no longer feel the need to hold back if she offends me!

Peonyrose Mon 26-Aug-19 07:34:36

Silver lady, I feel for you, but be light hearted about it. If she says something hurtful to you just give her your answer. Your weight. I am comfortable I am thanks, if anyone doesn't like it it's their problem and I would rather you don't make comments about my appearance. Or, Well I'm working on it but it's hard, so I would rather you don't remind me. Then get up and ask if she would like another cup of tea. She obviously did a good job raising her son, so has her qualities. I can't see why she would give you a present worth the same as her son. I don't know anyone that does that. As for present if soaps on second handsomer, I have people that do that. It's a joke about unwanted presents going in the bottom drawer and forgetting getting who gave what. Does a small thing like that really matter? You are with your husband majority of the time, her very little, she could be a bit lonely.

Razzmatazz123 Mon 26-Aug-19 01:57:16

The best way I have found to deal with nasty comments or jokes at my expense is to pretend not to understand. I will ask for an explanation and keep asking questions like "what do you mean by that" and sorry, could you repeat that" until they get uncomfortable and leave me alone

GoodMama Mon 26-Aug-19 00:22:59

GoldenAge, wonderful post!

GoldenAge Mon 26-Aug-19 00:05:19

The issue here it seems to me as a counsellor with lots of experience of relationships is more to do with how you would behave if anybody else other than your MIL were to try to belittle you on a regular basis, and how your husband would feel if you told him about that. Jealousy is a potential emotion in all in-law relationships - it's unavoidable even if it's well covered but basically we all become jealous of the person who has become more important in our child's life than ourselves. So your MIL is not feeling anything unusual. However, she has been rewarded for her jealousy by her son who has apparently stood by while she has disrespected this first wife, and now his second. He is telling her that her behaviour towards you is OK by not attributing any significance to it. So, put aside the differential in birthday gifts - this is only natural, and don't ignore her. Rather, deal with her the way you would deal with a work colleague or a neighbour who seemed to want to bully you which I what this amounts to. Use the same strategy to deal with it and as a means of getting your husband to show his colours, make up a similar situation with a colleague at work and see whether he skates over that as unimportant or whether he is able to look at the matter more objectively. If he can see your feelings and point of view in such a situation, then you have to tackle him again on the issue of his mother's treatment of you, showing him that there's no difference.

Jacks1 Sun 25-Aug-19 23:27:14

Just laugh at her straight in the face and walk away. Show her u r strong and can take anything she dishes out. She will be so angry when she is alone with her own thoughts. Then u have the last word without her realising. Old age is a funny thing!

janeayressister Sun 25-Aug-19 20:22:53

My MIL is dead and so it’s useless wishing I could say this or that. Call her out and ask her to repeat what she has said to your spouse.
When we went to tell my MIL ( brought up in a hall with servants) we were getting married, she told me that she didn’t want me to marry her son, and couldn’t I find someone else ?
. Instead of looking at her in stunned silence ( which is what I did) if only I had called my husband to be in, and asked her to repeat what she had just said.
Being a MIL now myself I realise that although it was a really stupid thing to say on her part, I should have nipped this sort of thing in the bud. BUT I was young and hadn’t got the confidence to say anything.
If you are full of confidence within yourself you should be able to stick up for yourself....but I had issues to.
It took my becoming a MIL before I had any sympathy for her. She was one unhappy person and I have had a much better life, ultimately.

Witchypoo Sun 25-Aug-19 19:40:12

My MIL didnt like me at all. I became stepmum to husbands two children who lived with us. She thought the children should live with her. When i had a son she got worse. When i had a daughter she changed to sweetness and light. But after seven years of nastiness i could not change. She spent a fortune on dd gifts and ds got nothing. It was an awful time. She ended up with dementia and in a home. I did visit with the children weekly but never liked her.

Newatthis Sun 25-Aug-19 18:29:17

It's not going to get better by ignoring it - brushing things under carpets never work! They just keep on rearing their ugly heads. Sodapops suggestion was good - ask her to repeat what she said when your husband's in the room - just to clarify of course!

EthelJ Sun 25-Aug-19 18:07:29

It must be very hard, but I would do as others have suggested and just rise above it, buy her nice presents and tjnak her for the not very thoughtful presents she gets the bigger person and by doing that you will show her how to behave. If she makes vauge insults pretend you isn't understand what she means and ask her to expain . If she says anything about your weight tell her you are quite happy as you are thank you. My Mil had an obsession about weight. Every time she saw me she would ask if I had either put weight on or lost it. I always said I don't know because I don't weigh myself and I don't think about weight. She also gave my DH much nicer and more expensive presents than she gave me but I just ignored it.
You said she is old, how old is she? Did she get on with your DHs ex. And is perhaps jealous?

Joyfulnanna Sun 25-Aug-19 18:02:46

Something else I've just thought of is that if she feels confident enough to say nasty things to you, this may be her way of developing a relationship with you. When I was at school I had a really good friend who didn't really know how to engage so she'd play nasty at first but when I really got to know her, she was a caring and generous person.. Its just a thought but maybe other dils never let your mil get passed this point. Also does your weight bother you? I am fat and don't let it bother me if someone comments about it.

Joyfulnanna Sun 25-Aug-19 17:56:12

Wow she sounds very direct. Does she have any other signs of mental illness or dementia? My mum would never dream of saying anything like that in her younger years but when she had dementia, she would tell people that she hadn't seen for a long time that they looked old. She would laugh at fat people and make faces at people who said things she didn't like. As you are the new wife, you may not have any times in the past to compare her behaviour. You definitely ought to tell your DH what she has said and ask him what's wrong with her. If he says he hasn't noticed her behaviour changing, then ask him to speak to her and tell her these remarks upset you. You shouldn't have to manage yourself in this situation (you can't account for what she says or does). DH should take the lead.. If it was your mother saying things to him, you would expect to speak to her directly. As for presents, I would personally like to have soaps, better than something more personal that you wouldn't use and last longer than flowers. Be happy for your DH that she gave him £500. It's a lovely gesture.

blue60 Sun 25-Aug-19 17:55:24

I can totally empathise with you. My late mil was really horrible to me, to the extent that she almost ruined my marriage - she would have loved that!

I stood up for myself, gave as good as I got but she managed to turn it around so I was a bad person and I was excluded by everyone she knew, including her family.

I can say this to you, ignore her as much as you can. Remain polite, but avoid being in her company alone - just get up and walk out of the room. Give yourself first consideration and if you don't want to visit her, then remain at home.

It's a hard position to be in, I know, and there's no easy solution.