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DIL needs advice about MIL

(15 Posts)
Throwaway123 Thu 19-Sep-19 16:53:34

Hi everyone,
I’ve been married to DH for two years but we have been together five years total. I’ve only met my MIL maybe five or six times since his family lives on the other side of the country from us. The problem is, she doesn’t like me and never has and DH is now starting to realize this. I’ve tried really hard to give her time with her son, include her in things, rearrange my schedule to go visit and help out when she needs it and generally just try to be really nice. Throughout the course of my relationship with DH she has constantly said and done really hurtful things and it’s starting to affect my marriage. Some recent examples include her telling my DH daily how lazy I am even though I was taking care of the baby and the house literally 24 hours a day 7 days a week because he was always at work or sleeping and didn’t help at all and I went back to my college classes immediately after DS was born, she has lied to my DH about me, insists that DH spend all his money on her and not his family, telling me how i should look and mocking me for being skinny (yes, I know that sounds petty), telling my DH all the things I should be doing and that he should be doing nothing since apparently the baby and house are my sole responsibility. She made my entire post-partum time about her. We paid for her to visit a week after DS was born and she spent the entire time shopping and wanted DH to leave me and DS at home to spend time alone with her and caused arguments when we said no and seem pleased when DH and I would argue. She pretended as if I didn’t even exist when DS was born and ignored me but then complained when I left the room. She didn’t even want to spend time with DS when she met him. She only wanted to spend time with her son and be catered to. Now she’s taken to excluding me when she sends gifts for the family. DH and I have no idea how to proceed and we could really use some advice. We have tried setting boundaries and she ignores them and DH has tried talking to her in the past and we’ll, that only made things worse. I didn’t post to mumsnet because I don’t want to cut her off but we also can’t go on like this. We just want everyone to be civil to each other. What should we do? Any suggestions?

Daisymae Thu 19-Sep-19 17:22:54

She sounds thoroughly manipulative, so my question must be why you want her involved in your life. She's a long way away and there's not really any need for too much interaction. You can't make someone change their behaviour if they don't want to. You must present a unitef front when you see her, and I would suggest annually is quite enough.

Throwaway123 Thu 19-Sep-19 17:30:24

Thank you. If it were up to me, I wouldn’t have any contact with her but DH thinks his whole family would cut him out if we went no contact with her. They talk daily and she consistently wants to know everything that’s going on. It’s a little overbearing.

M0nica Thu 19-Sep-19 18:02:56

You are married to a man with, frankly, a mother who sounds insane and grossly over posessive. However you have one big advantage. She lives a long way away.

Your DH clearly understands the problem he has tried to talk to his mother and has tried to set boundaries. What you now need to do is to enforce those boundaries.

So start by blocking her number on all your phones. Then your DH rings his mother once a week at a regular time and tells her all the news. He could send her the occasional email, but if she sends abusive emails, block those as well. If she abuses you to him, he simply puts the phone down and doesn't ring until the following week. He needs to make it absolutely clear to her that you are his wife and he will not tolerate any criticism of you.

As to visits. Agree between you how much you can tolerate of her presence. Frequency - 2/3 times a year, once a month, whatever you choose. Then whether his mother is in your house or you are staying with her, your DH has again to have zero tolerance of any criticism of you. If she starts he goes silent, doesn't respond and/or walks out of the room. He should allow himself, say half a day with his mother without you being there, but after that insist that any outings, events etc must include you and the child.

Once both of you make a determined and inflexible decision that you will always police the boundaries that his mother will not obey and that every one of her transgressions will end in her being cut out and ignored. She may, after a couple of years get the hang of it.

But the thing to be clear about is that this woman is out to break your marriage, by any means fair or foul, and the two of you have to present a united fron to deal with it.

ninathenana Thu 19-Sep-19 18:04:05

This sounds so like my DD MiL Her sons both keep threatening to cut her off but although they have distanced themselves both emotionally and geographically they can't bring themselves to cut her off completely. She has no real interest in her GC but can't accept her sons are now men with lives of their own.
She is one of a kind. DD was not allowed in her house until after the wedding when she realised DD was not going away.
Doesn't really help you sorry. DD just glues on a smile on the rare occasion she has to be with her.

Squibsy Thu 19-Sep-19 18:17:22

I think Monica pretty much covers it - but also have a look at the basically-a-predictable-template of behaviour for a Narcissistic Personality Disorder ... Narc mothers behave pretty much exactly how you describe and Monica's pretty much covered how you deal with one sad

It's good to hear you and your other half are on the same page - setting and sticking to firm B&W boundaries is the best way.

Good luck smile

Sussexborn Thu 19-Sep-19 18:23:56

Nothing to add but hope you both manage to stay the course despite this awful woman.

Hithere Thu 19-Sep-19 18:27:05

You have a dh problem.

Is he open to marital therapy?

LondonGranny Thu 19-Sep-19 18:38:19

Wise words from M0nica.
The only thing I would add was that my MiL was quite hostile (but nothing like your MiL) towards me to begin with, possibly because my husband's first marriage was so dire and unhappy but also because she was a glass half-empty person and hugely suspicious of the entire world who were all conspiring to keep her glass half-empty.
By the time we'd been together for about ten years she really came to love me (and vice versa). I didn't push it at all. He rang her once a week.
She was pretty odd but she'd been a widow for a long time and was very isolated and people in the village were horrible to her because she'd had an affair with the local bobby when she moved there (she thought he was single but he'd lied) and she was an outsider from that big bad Plymouth.

Throwaway123 Thu 19-Sep-19 18:57:06

Thank you all for the advice!! It is greatly appreciated and I’ll be trying what you all suggested! DH is open to therapy although we haven’t talked about it for a bit.

agnurse Thu 19-Sep-19 19:00:49

I'd suggest trying to find a therapist who believes in "leave and cleave" - namely, that your spouse and children should have a higher priority than your extended family (parents and adult siblings).

It sounds as if she really wants your DH all to herself, and she doesn't know where she ends and he begins. That isn't healthy.

Unfortunately, if his family is willing to CO all of your for going NC with MIL, that may be a price you have to pay. Hubby is LC with his father and we don't have contact with any of FIL's family - long story. We firmly believe that we are better off without them and their toxicity.

BradfordLass72 Fri 20-Sep-19 09:55:20

The one good thing is that you and DH agree she is overbearing. I'm glad you take MOnica's advice on board, it is so accurate.

MIL may also have a Narcissistic Disorder as Squibsy suggests and if you read about it and decide she has, there is no way round it, you never get through to people like this, whatever you do. And they change the goalposts so you can't win.

Your mil is clearly jealous of you; you are her rival (in her eyes) and she has to win her son back. Totally unrealistic.

This page may help and there's a good Wikipedia page on Narcissism too. Good luck, be strong and work together to enforce those guidelines. flowers

Tedber Mon 23-Sep-19 17:25:29

Be grateful she lives across the country!

Having been in a similar situation when I was a young bride (I was a second wife and never matched up to first wife even though it was her who left not me that split them up) All I can say is IGNORE it. Don't do anything and certainly do not let it come between you and your husband!

You can't make people different and it is her that has the problem.

Only thing I would query is why your DH speaks to her daily (on phone I gather?) and allows her to criticise you? Why does he tell you all the derogatory things she says? He should step up here and tell her he isn't discussing you and hang up if she insists. He is not obliged to speak to her daily and certainly not obliged to listen to drivel!

I don't know what their relationship was like pre-marriage but sounds like he was pretty much tied at apron strings?

Hubby needs to understand that you are not excluding her from your lives, she is doing that for herself but please, please, please do not let her be the focus of your arguments or....she has won!

By the way, my MIL DID come round eventually but I refused to let her upset me (and this included insults similar to yours). I never really loved her and vice versa but we jogged along reasonably well in the end! (still vindictive till the day she died though)

Nanabilly Mon 23-Sep-19 19:00:00

My mil hated me too. I was always in the wrong. When my husband was ill in hospital once in the early years of our marriage I sent to visit him and she was there making plans when he came out to go to her house not ours so that she could care for him and not me.
I just said to her that if he did that it would be permanent as I would have the locks changed and file for divorce. That is now I had to deal with her all the time. Give her a taste of her own medicine but it's horrible having to be like that when it does not come naturally.
When we started our family it got much worse. I put up with it for years and did not let her get me upset ..ever!!
Years later after fil died I was suddenly in favour because she wanted me to look after her but I kept away as much as I could. It did occasionally cause trouble between me and my husband but we got over it quickly.
Since she died of dementia our life has been a lot better.
Stay strong but do try hard to get your husband to not give her too much detail about your relationship and what you have been doing. He is just giving her ammunition and it's not fair on you. I would not ever stop him from calling her or seeing her though. Let your husband decide that for himself if he wants to.That way it can never be thrown back at you .

LostChild Mon 23-Sep-19 20:53:08

What M0nica said was amazing, setting boundaries isn't in the saying, it is in the doing. They must be strictly enforced. I'm sad to say you will probably be to blame for the offence she will take for this, but the plus side is your husband will see it clearly. You both may come out of this stronger than before