First, my relationship with my own MIL is strained, at best. We also have boundary issues which we are working on (they come out in different ways, but are still boundary issues, nonetheless). I appreciate the difficulty of what is happening here, and know how hard it is to change. I am still working on it, so this is as much for me as it is for you!
Originally Posted by peilover010202
For now, that is where I'm going to start. I think this is a bigger issue to handle than "fixing" it all at once. So, baby steps.
I very much disagree with the baby steps thing. Sometimes you just need to say, "this far and no more", and be very firm about it. You may (probably will) hurt her feelings. You may (probably will) cause discord within the extended family. You may (probably will) be in the doghouse for quite awhile. However, for the sake of your family, you and your DH must get on the same page and set some clear boundaries around your family. It is the only way to have a good relationship with your MIL.
Second, and this is somewhat controversial, she IS NOT your family. When you and DH got married, you created a new family that includes you, your DH, and any children you bring into that union. Everyone else is now a RELATIVE. They are important, but not urgent. They are important, but not first place. They get the leftovers of your time and energy. If they don't like it, tough cookies, that's their problem. You don't have to be mean and rude about it, just be firm. You are not responsible for their reactions to your boundaries. You are responsible for keeping your family safe.
And to Aria - MIL is family. I don't necessarily feel like she's "abusive" at this point. I honestly feel like it's how she was raised and she doesn't know any better and that topped with her intrusive and manipulative behavior compounds the issue.[/QUOTE]
Third, it doesn't matter if she was raised that way, knows what she is doing, does it subconsciously, etc. She is still doing it, therefore, she is not a safe person (emotionally, physically, etc.) to have around your child who is extremely vulnerable (emotionally, physically, etc.). Don't make excuses for her behavior. You aren't helping her or your child by allowing her to continue in this behavior pattern. Call a spade a spade, deal with it, and keep your family safe. Maybe the firm boundaries you and your DH create can be a catalyst for her to begin to choose healthier behaviors.