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I feel defeated...MIl rant and GD, UPDATE #64 - Page 4

post #61 of 74
yeah, i agree that #3 is a huge deal. but i also really feel that #1 can be taken care of in a few well constructed, very difficult to say, awkward feeling sentences. this parenting thang ain't easy. if it were we wouldn't need MDC except to go on and on about how great and easy it is. and most of us don't do that. LOL!
post #62 of 74
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by sphinx
I was in a similar rut regarding the communication triad with my DH and MIL - she being an intrusive, nosy, opinionated, dominating, overindulgent grandma and showing up at my house far too often. My dd, like your son, also felt the tension in the relationship and began to act out against both of us actually. I have to say that talking too much about it to DH and constantly asking him to mediate really damaged our marriage. He saw me as a judgmental nag and felt torn between the two women he loves most and to whom he feels the most loyalty. Mostly, he felt he had to placate us both, and that did not improve anything because it kept all discussion about it at a superficial level.

So I understood that if I wanted to win the respect of MIL (or at least her willingness to abide by my basic principles), I had to take the responsibility to open communication with her. I had to assert my position as the natural authority in my house, and with my children. Without demonizing her, I told MIL clearly and directly my expectations for her behavior regarding visiting, how she treated my children, and so forth. I shared the principles of my parenting in a positive way and showed her how I wanted her to respond to specific situations. I refused to discuss the relative validity or quality of my methods with her. I then reminded her relentlessly whenever she "forgot" our guiding principles, and after a good struggle she finally accepted it and, though she is still sometimes confused or may even disagree, she is now very respectful of my wishes. She ALWAYS defers to me when she is not sure if I would approve of something or how I would go about it. This took about 6 years of frustration to achieve, but we got here. It would have taken less time if I had just spoken up sooner. We actually almost like each other now! We see her 4-5 times a week, she helps immensely with the childcare, and knows when to leave.

And you know what? Not only have all the relationships between MIL, DH, me and DC improved dramatically on this point, but MIL is actually more open and clear now in her communication with everyone. She is a better listener (used to dominate by talking nonstop) and we are both much more humble with each other. My DH's whole family tiptoed around her for years because she would burst into tears at the slightest hint of criticism. I was the first one to tell her that was unfair and unnecessary. I think that by saying my feelings straight up, I really showed her that I wanted to be on the same team and that I would value her needs too, so she felt safer to be able to express them. All this at the age of 64! It sounds like a lot of your MIL's actions and reactions come from fear, and so helping her feel safe and wanted in the family could help diminish her absurd and immature reactions to your ds's behavior.

So... you may be the person your MIL has been waiting for, to help free her from her own passive-aggressiveness! I hope it all works out for you!
sphinx - I loved how you handled the situation - and that's what I keep dreaming will happen. I've actually discussed with dh taking him completely out of this situation and letting me have a heart-to-heart conversation about our parenting philosophy, the importance of "family" time to me (the 3 of us) and discussing the dropping by, my attitude toward it and how I think our relationship - or lack thereof, is contributing to ds's lashing out - he's confused and feels stuck in the middle. That is exactly what I would love to do.

But, this woman is so stoic, judgemental, passive-aggressive, etc that it seems a daunting task. But, I have an appointment with my counselor on Tuesday, and hopefully he can help me set up a good game-plan.

Thanks everyone - I really have enjoyed reading your advice.
post #63 of 74
Originally Posted by peilover010202
But, this woman is so stoic, judgemental, passive-aggressive, etc that it seems a daunting task. But, I have an appointment with my counselor on Tuesday, and hopefully he can help me set up a good game-plan.

Thanks everyone - I really have enjoyed reading your advice.
Good luck! I just want to add that I've gotten along a lot better with my in-laws since the birth of my first child. I think it propelled us into our own relationships, as the mother of the grandchild, as the grandmother of my child, etc., instead of just as a peripheral relationship that focused mainly on my dh. I remember feeling a lot more ownership, if that makes any sense at all.
post #64 of 74
Thread Starter 
I just wanted to thank everyone here because I finally got up enough courage to talk to my MIL myself. No more waiting for dh to understand my need for boundaries with his mother.

So, last night, I told MIL that we needed to talk and I told her that for me as a person, to be happy in my life, there are certain things that are important and that I need. And, one of those things was time with the family I created with dh. That, because I work WOHM FT, I have very little time to reconnect with my ds and dh each day and so the time I have is very important to me.

I explained that unannounced visits make that time difficult to come by and when she drops by, there are times that it's NOT a good time, for whatever reason.

I told her I want her to feel welcome in my home, but that I need time with my family too. I stressed the importance of her relationship with ds and that I hoped to develop a better relationship with her over time.

Then, I asked for 2 things:

1. for her to always call before coming by
2. for her to understand that when she calls, there may be times that it's a BAD time

She tried really hard to understand and at the end, she said she understands my need to spend time with my family, but she said she was lonely (she lost her mother in December.)

I told her my goal was not to alienate her or contribute to her loneliness, but that I needed certain things in my life to be happy and time with my family is at the top of that list.

I left it at that and she said she'd do her best. So, now I just have to be strong enough to make her hold to her word
post #65 of 74
yay for you! maybe this will help heal her treatment of your son, if not, then you can tackle that issue!
just keep deep breathing!
post #66 of 74
Well done!
post #67 of 74
wow, that's fantastic!!! i'm sure it was an awkward, difficult conversation...i hope she's able to keep it up!!
post #68 of 74
Something that could help her keep her promise and would be a nice gesture from you, would be if you could make some sort of regular visting time for her each week. Like, even if life is busy and you haven't had time for her all week, she'll know she can come over to your house for lunch on Saturday or something. Knowing she'll get at least that time should make it easier for her not to be pushy at other times, y'know?
post #69 of 74
Phew, good job! I bet you are relieved that it went so well! I agree with sapphire, maybe if you make an effort to "reward" her if she sticks to her word, she will keep sticking with it!

post #70 of 74

You did what I couldn't do. Well done!
And because you said "this is what I NEED" it didn't come across as nasty or I don't want you here.
It was honest and didn't place any blame on her.
post #71 of 74
Thread Starter 
sapphire - You bring up a good point, and I am even contemplating asking her to go on a trip to the Children's Museum this weekend. But, if I get a little too selfish for that - then we'll make plans to do something with her on Saturday. Thanks
post #72 of 74
Well done! I should do the same with my own MIL!
post #73 of 74
you were amazing!!!
post #74 of 74
To the OP - way to go!!

To aira, heartmama, sledg...you mamas rock. Awesome posts!

To sphinx: wonderful story and excellent advice.
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