manipulative, disrespectful mother-in-law - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 16 Old 11-27-2006, 05:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Mother-in-law is tricky, as she is sublime, passive/aggressive, highly competitive, jealous and really good at saying and doing the cruelest most manipulative things with the sweetest, kindest, softest voice and expressions. This has been an issue for 6 years...now that we have our 7 month old, it has become far nastier and less tolerable for me...she yanks him from my arms when noone is looking, viciously stares at me if I hold him (or if am within five feet of him), and completely disrespects my requests for him to sleep...I feel as if I am not his Mother when she is around...Also, she has an army of family who back her...I feel very alone in this, as she is very brilliant at doing the "when noone is looking" thing...She clutches him for dear life when I am around and refused to hand him back to me when I asked to take him (just to console him when she couldn't calm down his crying)...She even stepped in between us to obstruct DS's view of me because he was smiling and laughing at me while she was holding him...I don't know what to do...I feel so alone and feel I need Divine Intervention for a miracle...I did everything I could see how to give her the message that I am not a threat...I hand him to her, I encourage them to be together, I encourage her ride in the car with DS and DH while I rode with someone else...When DH and I were first together, I made her a scrapbook of just the two of them, sent her framed photos of just him, have always made myself as scarce as possible so she wouldn't feel threatened...She wore black to our wedding and waved at us the entire time the ceremony was performed, hoping for DH to wave back I suppose...The whole family worships her...they see her as an angel...DH doesn't really get it...The only family I have is my 80 year young Grandmother and 90 year young Aunt who are 2 hours away...no siblings etc...We have been to counseling over this and this issue just doesn't seem to let up...Again, it's tricky...she is a mastermind at being mean with that sweet face and voice...Oh! And I am sure she gets away with it because that side of the family are very actively alchoholic (they each drink heavily daily and have for years and years). Any suggestions?
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#2 of 16 Old 11-27-2006, 05:48 PM
 
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Since DH doesn't get "it" and moving probably isn't an option, I believe your best course of action is to create the best support system you can with non-family members. I would focus effort on making friends. Not just aquaintances, but try and form real friendships with women outside of that family.

My first stop would be through volunteering with an organization I felt totally connected to their mission. Then possibly play or moms groups. Even a book club. Check out Alanon for some additional coping skills.

By stepping outside of this and creating a network for yourself, you will feel stronger when this happens. Try and cut down on family get together stuff as much as you can. Alcoholism is something I wouldn't be around if there was any way I could avoid it. Instead of focusing on MIL, tell the DH you don't want to go to the family get together because everyone will be drinking. Use the alcohol as the reason to stay away.

You can't fix this (which you already know), so look away from them. Church activities if you belong. Maintain friendships, always. It will take time if you've always been actively involved with his family, but for the sake of your son, getting away from the alcholic dynamics is important.
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#3 of 16 Old 11-27-2006, 06:42 PM
 
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Gosh, I don't have to deal with anything like this but, I just wanted to say how sorry I am she is so wretched to you. I know that this may not be the right thing to do but, maybe you could try to beat her at her own game... I've had to use that on a few of my family members and it throws them way off their game... and it might show her you mean business now. I'm not really proud of it but, I tried everything.

As far as your DH is concerned... I don't know what to say other than he needs to put your concerns first and formost, don't let him forget that either.

Good luck.
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#4 of 16 Old 11-27-2006, 06:43 PM
 
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Do you live w/ your MIL? I'm sorry if this sounds harsh, but wow, I wouldn't that that woman near my baby again. YOU are the mamma of that baby. Don't give into her. That's the first step. Say no and stick to it. I've had to with my crazy mother-in-law and now we acctually have a pretty good relationship.
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#5 of 16 Old 11-27-2006, 11:28 PM
 
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I'm so sorry you have to deal with this person. A couple things about
your posting struck me as odd. Why would you have to make an album just of her and dh? Why do you have to prove to her that your not a "threat"? You are his wife. Time to cut those apron strings, mommy dearest.

You, are the baby's mommy. No one else. As as far as I'm concerned, her relationship with the baby is dependent on her relationship with you. I'm not saying you should hold the baby over her head just to get her to behave, but you certainly don't have to make yourself scarce or ride in another car for crying out loud.

Pardon me for being direct but your dh really needs to step up. Why doesn't he "get it". Do you say "your mother is making angry and threatening faces at me"? What's not to get?

I know it is incredibly difficult to deal with people who have that nicey-nicey/conniving b*$ch thing going on, but you've got to get a few coping skils. What would happen if you said....

-"Why are you making such a grusome face? Are you feeling well?"

-"I'm not comfortable riding without baby....you must remember what being a first time mom is like..."


ok, I just reread your post and now I'm really mad at your MIL !

If she tried to grab or yank a baby from my hands I would...

-look her right in the eyes and say very loudly so anyone close by could hear "grabbing is not ok, this is a precious baby, not a toy. I will be glad to let you hold baby, but you must ask nicely" (sort of how you would say the same thing to a three or four year old).

-look her right in the eyes and say very loudly so anyone close by could hear "BACK OFF"

She sounds like a total bully, and usually (but not always) bully's back down when confronted.

And yeah, on second thought, I would keep the baby from her until she learns to play nice. I'll probably get flamed for saying it, but here it is, if she can't show respect and behave decently to the baby's mother, why would you let such a person around your precious babe?



The person who says you need real, close, friends is right on the money. My support network includes NO ONE in my birth family. But I have people I can rely on, who love me and help me deal with all my stuff. You've got to get some good friends.


best,
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#6 of 16 Old 11-27-2006, 11:42 PM
 
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I agree with Vixenmama, completely!
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#7 of 16 Old 11-27-2006, 11:43 PM
 
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but how about a nice little letter.

Dear MIL,

I hope this finds you well and happy. Baby was so happy after our visit with you on Sunday. I'm sure I must have taken some great pictures of the two of you. I'm glad you are such an involved Grandmother. However, I do have a couple of issues I'd like to discuss.

I find that your behaviour towards me is somewhat lacking in kindness and respect. I couldn't believe how roughly you snatched baby from my arms. I certainly don't feel comfortable turning my precious babe over to someone who is less than gentle. I find you looking at me in a way that doesn't seem friendly and I find this behaviour frightening and baffling.

I don't understand the origin of the negative feelings and aggressive attitude you seem to bear towards me, and frankly, I'm not interested. But as the wife of your son and the mother of your grandson I am intersted in maintaining mutually kind and respectful relationships with everyone in this family. I hope you are interested in doing this as well.

I would love to discuss this with you if you'd like. Give me a call anytime, or maybe the two of us can meet for coffee.

love,
DIL

*************
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#8 of 16 Old 11-28-2006, 12:48 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh my goodness vixenmama, you rock! I really appreciate and can feel the support! Wow! I love this website! I completely agree with all of you. I would like to send a letter of this sort, however, this woman avoids direct, honest communication brilliantly and at all cost. DH had two talks with her before our visit, clearly communicating our expectations (no weird comments, respect baby's sleep time, don't clutch him for dear life and walk away from Mommy, etc). She behaved as if she didn't know what he is talking about (she is genius at this) and said she "just wanted to spend more time with baby." It's so weird...my DH is such a kind, lovely, man...he can't see this as obviously as I do...MIL also has the entire family feeling sorry for her that we don't pack up our entire lives and drive down to see her more often (she is a six hour drive away without stopping). Again, she is very talented...I can't stand this...I have worked so hard on myself and this wacky relationship brings up so much muck that I thought I cleared, but obviously haven't yet...Just don't have the time, energy or answers to deal with this, as I have a child to raise and a life to live...Also, I haven't spoken with my own mother since Christmas last year (she was the one that installed the buttons MIL is enjoying pushing)...I had my child in April and chose to not have my own mother around as I focused on DS and I felt concerned about having him around her (she was extremely physically abusive and very, very unstable). MIL brings up every shadow, every button, every thing I don't like in myself...Basically everything that still needs love and healing...But God knows, I don't have the time or energy right now.
Bless you all for reading and caring...And thanks for being on my team...Feels good...Love to all of you...
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#9 of 16 Old 11-28-2006, 12:09 PM
 
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r
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#10 of 16 Old 11-28-2006, 01:36 PM
 
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how often do you see her?

sorry if you answered this but I raced through the post a bit.

Check out New Moon on my Astrology Site

http://tracyastrosalon.blogspot.com/

 

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#11 of 16 Old 11-28-2006, 06:00 PM
 
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Quote:
I would like to send a letter of this sort, however, this woman avoids direct, honest communication brilliantly and at all cost.
This is where you hold the cards... as others have said you need to call her out right when it happens and take her power away from her. Force her to communicate on your terms and make her realize that it's your way or the highway. So what if she makes everyone feel sorry for her and you out to be the bad guy. She already does that but not to your face so what's the difference. She'll learn soon enough that you aren't taking her crap anymore. Poor thing I feel terrible for you.
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#12 of 16 Old 11-28-2006, 06:27 PM
 
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you have already been given a lot of good advice i just wanted to add my moral support

my fil used to take ds1 from my arms and walk off for ages.

we have had some very difficult times since ds1 was a baby, but he never did it with my other babies, and we have actually reached a fantastic place with my il's amazingly much more so than i believed we ever could.

however i digress, i feel like i want to shout at your mil she has absolutely no right to separate you from you baby and steal him away, i know how it is to have some one just hekp themselves to your baby, all i can say is what i wish i had done then which is just say no!


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#13 of 16 Old 11-29-2006, 08:19 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elsasmommy View Post
Believe me, once people like this realize that you've got their number, they will do everything possible to avoid ticking you off, because they don't want you to expose them to everyone else.
100% I couldn't agree more.
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#14 of 16 Old 11-30-2006, 09:22 PM
 
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Hi SoBlessed!

Huge (((((HUGS))))) to you! I could have written your post. I have a terrible relationship with my MIL and I am the only one who has ever called her out on her crap. B/C of her relationship with my FIL everyone feels sorry for her but she is by far the most critical, manipulative, controlling, and egocentric person I have ever met.

I have kept my mouth shut until her last visit here. She has criticized me and criticized me but this last trip she turned on my almost 2-year-old and that when poo hit the fan - in the middle of a shopping mall. It got real ugly real fast and I didn't back down for the first time in 4 years. She was staying at our house but went to a hotel that night and left the next morning. We were suppose to be at her house for Thanksgiving and I refused to go. She finally called and apologized and I explained that I forgave her but things had to change. I called her out on everything.

Something I would HIGHLY recommend for you is finding a Celebrate Recovery group in your area. I don't know if you're a Christian or not but my church has this group and it is amazing. I come from a very abusive family and have been in and out of therapy and was almost ready to give up until I found CR. It really helped me dig deep and work through some junk that I didn't even know was there. You can PM me if you want more details.

I'm so sorry you're going through this!

We are a family of Jesus loving urban-nesters living the granola life in a not-so-crunchy city.  Our kids (DS 8, DS 7, DD 4) are home birthed and educated, and we just found out that a new Little will be added to our roost mid-April '14!

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#15 of 16 Old 12-01-2006, 05:32 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vixenmama View Post
You, are the baby's mommy. No one else. As as far as I'm concerned, her relationship with the baby is dependent on her relationship with you. I'm not saying you should hold the baby over her head just to get her to behave, but you certainly don't have to make yourself scarce or ride in another car for crying out loud.

Exactly.

And this is how I handle my OWN mother.
She must be calm, consistant, and respectful if she wants to be included in my family functions - not always, but hopefully most of the time.
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#16 of 16 Old 12-01-2006, 06:10 PM
 
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You need a sling so you can tie that baby tight to your body so its hard for anybody to snach it from you Wear that baby anytime you are around her.

I detest the people who make their moves when nobody sees them :
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