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my MIL

Started by twowolves, November 10, 2009, 06:34:02 am

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She lives in NY half the year and FL (2hrs from us) half the year.
My dh is her only child.
She has 2 grandsons from us, 3 and 5.
She is ultra good with them WHEN SHE VISITS.
But, the visits are not that often...specifically when she's down in FL, only 2hr from us...
We are moving to CO in a little over a yr, I thought that would motivate her a bit more this past year to come and physically visit her grandsons, while she's in such close proximity for half the year.
She just got down to her home in Kissimmee for the winter about 2wks ago.
About a month ago, dh and her were talking and she told him that she was going to come down and visit us end of October for a day.
That never happened, she never even called and said anything about it, like 'oh, I can't come'.
About 10 days ago, he called her and got off the phone saying that it 'was the strangest phone call I've ever had with her...'
He asked her basically if she was coming to visit us! She said she would call him back and let him know, STILL HAVEN'T HEARD FROM HER.
In that phone call, she DID manage to confirm with him if we (he and I and kids) are still going to drive up and have Thanksgiving there with her and her b/f....he said yes.
I DO NOT want to go, but we are committed. As we told her months ago, that we'd come.  :o
She has this RUDE trend, has done this to us many different times over the years, made tentative plans, threw things out there like 'I want to come down and see the boys next month, week, etc...' and then WE NEVER HEAR FROM HER AND EVENTUALLY HE CALLS HER!
I am sorry but:
1. I think her behavior is RUDE.
2. I think it's awful that she can mail the boys $$ and gift cards randomly but when she's 2hrs away, for a 6 month stretch, her average # of visits to see them is 2 in that 6 months. (and when she DOES come for a day or 2, it seems like she's gotta run back up to Kissimmee for some social event.  >:(
Opinions from what I have described???

p.s. have to add that her attitude toward me has been very 'mean' over the years but I have forgiven her time and time again. One example,
we were having a meal over at her place when I was pg with my 5yr old, while hubby was in the kitchen, she said to me, 'well, it will be nice when the baby comes because then (insert dh name) will have someone to come home to....'   !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
DH had a nice talk with her about that one in the following days......

Thanks everyone for your input!!!  :-*


November 10, 2009, 07:51:26 am #1 Last Edit: November 10, 2009, 07:55:17 am by AnnieB
Hello twowolves, and welcome!

Wow, a lot of us would give a lot to have a DIL who cared enough about our involvement with their families to come  and post here, and to care so much about our being there for our grandchildren!   Most of us who post here are suffering greatly from being excluded by our DIL's from our son's and grandchildren's lives.

It's very difficult to pass judgement on someone without knowing all that is in their minds.  We can only make guesses.   

From what you say, it sounds to me like your MIL is not yet into being a MIL.  Maybe she will never be -- some women just aren't.   That doesn't mean they are evil people -- not every woman has great nurturing skills.    Sounds like she has an active life and that being a grandmother is not a major part of it.   That may be part of her personality or it may be where she is in life now.   

My mother at 82 has never been into the grandmother thing.  That's just the way it is.   She is, btw, paying the price for that now -- my kids and their kids are not close to her and she has a somewhat lonely life and when her friends are talking about their grandchildren and great grandchildren, she doesn't have a lot to offer.

Her comment about your son having someone to come home to may not have been meant as anything mean and vicious.   She may have just meant he would be excited about a new baby.  (If this is part of a consistent pattern over the past 5 years, then maybe there is a hidden message, in which case I myself would probably not be working so hard to have her come and visit.)

(I find it is very easy, once I set my mind on a person's attitude, to take a comment they make and either laugh it off or feel it's "proof".   I try try try not to give anyone that much power, and to assume the best -- that way I can usually laugh or shrug off comments).

In any case, it seems pretty clear that you cannot make your husband's mother into the grandmother you would like her to be.  She may change, but it sounds like she's Not That Into It.   I don't think that makes her a bad person.  Not all women are automatically great mothers or grandmothers (or MIL's) - but we judge each other in Black or White.  She sounds like a grey for me as a grandmother, possibly she was not the traditional apple pie mother either.

Maybe if there are no other grandmothers in your children's lives, there are aunts, friends or others who will be able to fill in.   

Again, there are many of us here who wish we had a DIL who cared as much as you do!


Thanks AnnieB.
I am more agitated at her lack of consideration of 'announcing' which is what she does, that she is 'coming' to visit us...and then weeks later, we're like---'where is she? why hasn't she called?'
It's almost like she thinks we have no lives and are just here whenever she chooses to come.
Imo, she has minimal manners. I would never do that to someone, announce that 'oh, I am coming to visit in a week...' and then never show up or call about not showing up! Granted she never even commits to a 'certain day' to visit, it's just 'next week' or 'at the end of the month' and then NOTHING.
I think that's extremely rude. My husband is catching on to it too.
That's ok, her behavior will/is just making it 'easier' to leave and move for good, across the country to CO when we are ready.
If I were her, I would be like velcro this last year visiting MY grandchildren and son, knowing that in just over one year, they will be 1500 miles away instead of 2hrs for 6 months of the year.
In a way, I feel like she 'gets a rise' and feels 'control' by doing what she does....leaves us hanging and waiting for HER and on HER.
She is a very controlling woman but in very subtle ways. Like extremely 'passive-aggressive'.
Does this sound plausible to you all?  ???


I just learned how to work the new site....so, I'll respond by saying that of course none of us know your MIL, TwoWolves but if she did pay more attention to your kids, would you like that?  We're kind of damned if we do and damned if we don't on our end. 

I skimmed your post because I just got back on.  Yes, I think your MIL is being rude when she doesn't show up.  I have a DIL who does that very thing.  I can't imagine what would possess someone to do that but I'll give you a little insight as to what I think people are doing when they do that.

It is control.  My DIL is going to control any situation by doing whatever she has to do to make us feel uncomfortable and put her in the driver's seat. 

I'm shocked that your MIL is like that because most of us are just looking for where we belong and will go along with anything to keep our DIL's wrath at bay.  I'm shocked at her because these things are a mental health issue I've discovered.   

I don't think anyone can deal with mentally ill people on a rational basis.  You just can't.  I was on the verge today of just giving up again so I hope I can regain myself enough to face Thanksgiving with the rudest, most controlling subhuman on earth on that day. 

Me trying to make sense of a mentally ill young woman?  It's like making scrambled eggs and trying to carefully unscramble them.  It can't be done. 

I'm giving her so much power of me.  God help me!  Along with her goes our son, though.   He is a robot.  If you have sons, I feel sorry for you.  You will be at his wife's mercy.  You might have Daughter's though.

A friend said something to me today that resonated with me to the core!  She said, "if L**** had stayed married to "B", I would be in your shoes today.  She had the sense to get out before they had kids."

I was stunned.  This guy she was first married to was an alcoholic, drug addict, ran around on her and never worked.  He too would not allow her to be with her family and she didn't.  He wouldn't answer the phone if her Mother called, wouldn't come to their house just like us.

He is ill mentally.  Mine is ill mentally.  I don't know about your MIL.  You might think about that in that light.


thanks. I agree. I think it's control. She is a control-freak. And she has no control over us but in that way, to leave us hanging.
Only she is hanging herself, over time. We are tired of it.
When she puts it out there that she is going to 'come for a visit', it is not fun thoughts or immediate pleasant feelings, it is resentment and stress, and now wonder-will she REALLY COME?
I'm not so sure she is mentally ill, per se'. But, she has many 'issues', let's put it that way.
And she knows her son and that he is non-confrontational. So she knows, in essence, that she'll get by with this behavior.
The thing she does not realize, is that he is getting numb to her and her 'shenanigans and power games/trips'. I'm sure it hurts him too.  :-\
One thing on our side, she is miles away and NOT local!  8)
Another thing NOT on our side, is that her grandsons LOVE it when she comes. As she is quite good with them, for the few days or hrs that she is here...when she is here.
I have NO daughters, but 3 sons. I figure out of the 3, atleast ONE will remain close to me in their adult years? Or marry someone who can be close to me? That is my hope anyway. However unrealistic it is..... :-\
One thing I hope to do as a future MIL, is to remember how cruel my own MIL has been to ME and strive to not be that way.  ::)


My DIL doesn't appear on the surface to be mentally ill but anyone who needs that much control, is.  I really had one of the worst days of my life today just thinking about having to be with her on Thanksgiving and knowing that I really don't have a family. 

How am I going to act with her there?  Everything shows on my face...  When my friend told me about her daughter and that guy she first married, it dawned on me...she could be in my shoes!  Crushed.

But to Mother's it's death.  Having your kids, you must already know how it feels, even thinking about losing them.  We had a wonderful home here and one where they loved to be.

I talked to them all their lives about someone like my DIL coming in and tearing us apart.  "NEVER, they'd say...NEVER"  So, watch out, TwoWolves.

I've looked today at both my DIL's.  Both are controlling in their own ways, close DIL vying to be #1.  That's not right and not fair to distant DIL.  I've let her get by with it just to have a family, although it is a pretend family.  I don't have fun with any one of them.  Actually, I'd just as soon be with a transient off the street than these people. 

I have felt so sorry for me and for my husband...what a great father he has been!  None better...if for no other reason than for his sake, it looks like she would behave for him.   

Her silences are deafening; they are show stoppers.  Anyone who has to have that much control is ill. 


I know what you mean, Anna.  If we don't go to Thanksgiving at the other DIL's and sons house, she will tell son, "your parents are so abusive to me.  We need to not come here at all anymore".   (this was her true intention all along)

If we do go and we probably will, she will give me dirty looks and make the whole place terrible uncomfortable.  Her silences and stares at me are deathly. 

I can't get over the lesson I learned yesterday.  My friend said that if her Daughter had stayed with her first husband that she'd be right where I am today.  It just clicked with me.  A true miracle.  It is control and her Daughter was in the midst of it....my friend and her husband were cast out of their lives.  Control.  What kind of person needs that much control?  A sick one. 

I started seeing DIL like she is.  I have forgotten who I am in all these years of abuse from her.  She is a mixed up screwy beast and I allowed her to do this to me. 


How often do you ladies see your dils? is it often ?

When ours is around ( which is very seldom ) the whole room is silent, cold and filled with tension, it's just awful when she visits. I used to try so hard to make her feel welcome and loved and now I keep my back to her and don't even speak unless I just say hi or bye. She is sickening and so fake. I don't even know why she comes at all ( I never go to her house ).


I see distant DIL about once a year. That's too much, although I'd love to see that grandkids more.  She does expect gifts from us, though. 

Close DIL, I see about once a week.  Although I'm figuring out that close DIL is very controlling and I have done some research on what makes people be that way, she still is the one who keeps us in contact with her. 

It makes me so sick to think about seeing DIL.  You just don't know..I know I'm very sensitive but I'm crushed every time I see her. 

You just can't imagine hearing that your grandkids were in town and no one called us to ask us even if we'd like to see them.  When she comes, it's always just her and the kids to visit her friend here.

We hear about that from the community...."I saw your Grandkids.  I know you're so proud of them"

Yes, we are proud of them.  My friend who asked me if DIL knew how I am loved?  What does it matter?  She probably does but she's made me feel like such a worthless piece of garbage that nothing makes me feel good. 

The damage a DIL can do is unfathomable.  Unbelievable.  They wait till they can whisper all your faults to her husband.  Little by little they are taken in and pretty soon, you are a disease that has to be gotten rid of. 

That's their goal,  though.  They want their own parents, not his. 

I'm so scared of her. No matter what I say, it will be taken to son and made into something against her. 

Sassy, when son broke off with her, I said, "thank God" to our son.  He took that back to her and she has stewed about it.   But she spent weeks working on me by phone with her kindness and how she was going to change and I convinced son to give her another chance. 

Biggest mistake of my life.


lucky you  :)

If you quit babysitting, watch out.  These people are dangerous. I believe that.  If they don't get what they want, you'll be out for good.  They love slaves.

Course, if you never saw your grandchild, you'd be labeled as 'non-caring'

You can't win.


she still is the one who keeps us in contact with her

So if you're close DIL didn't plan the visits and so forth would your son not do it.  If so I think that's a man thing.  That's the way my DH is.  Its all about sleep, work, ball games.  His mom's b-day is today and he sent a card.  He's really good about sending cards but nothing else when it comes to his parents.  I really don't know how often he would have visited them if I didn't say anything.  Men???


Wow, heavy stuff here. I don't even know what to say.
My thread got hijacked but that's ok.  ;)
I am not near being a MIL yet so I am clueless.
I just know how my MIL has treated me. And it's not been nice on many occasions.
When she is snarky or has rude comments, it's been when DH was not in room. Like she thought I wouldn't tell him!
I forgave those comments even though she never apologized.
Thank God she is not close by.
My DH would not tolerate me treating her like your DIL's treat you guys. I don't know what your sons are doing!
How can your sons not feel/see the tension that you describe is present in the room during holidays/visits?
My DH would. If I were the one initiating it, he'd not be happy.
He's not happy with his mom's behavior, that she does on the sly, and he has called her on it many times. (not every time)
Your sons seem to be part of the problem here. I reiterate 'part of'.  :-\
You may not want to hear that.
Problem is, if he gives her a ration for her behavior, then he will pay dearly as she will make him suffer. If she is as wicked as you describe, why wouldn't she make him suffer at home? After the party?
He doesn't want that. He wants peace, likely. So, he zips it. And the problem will go on. I am sure he knows that you, as his mom, will continue to love him unconditionally-which is good, and bad. Bad because he isn't sticking up for you as he should.
Again, I don't know what the solution is for you.
For the DIL closest, if it's that bad, take a stance and stop seeing her and tell your DS what is going on, how she is being cruel and see what he says. He may not stick up for you as he has to live with her. So you'd have to be prepared for that.
Next, for the one who you see once a year, be kind and ignore her looks. Go up purposely to her and begin pleasant conversations, in front of your son so he sees her reactions to you. Be so nice, that when she does M-F you behind your back, to your son, he will question what she is saying, because that is NOT what he observed from you to her.
My other suggestion would be to pray about it. Don't know if anyone on here is religious or not.

You could say this one in private, while having to be in DIL's presence:

"Father God, please send your Holy Angels to stand guard over me today (tonight).    I pray that they will minister to me and remind me of your healing power.   Lord please keep me safe from the evil one and strengthen me against all temptations that may come my way.  Thank You Lord, in the name of Jesus Christ, I pray, Amen."  (based on Psalm 91)

"Lord God, please surround me with favor as with a shield today.  Lord, please strengthen your wall of protection around me, keeping me safe from temptation of the flesh, tricks of the Adversary, and all harm.   Lord, please fill my thoughts with Your thoughts and let my words be your words.  You are my strength, my shield and my defense, O Lord.  Thank You, Lord, in Jesus name I pray, Amen."   (based on Psalm 5:12 & Psalm 7:10)

Or, you could wear a red string bracelet:



From above link: "Negative thought energies are created by someone (dead or alive) thinking negative thoughts, e.g. anger, hatred, fear etc. If the person is thinking these thoughts about us then they are automatically projected in our direction. In addition, as negative spirits are attracted to negative energy these people will often accompany the energies."

So, there is an assortment of suggestions to help you to get thru your interactions with difficult DIL.  :-*

I have to say, I have been nothing but kind to my own MIL when around her. She has burned me too many times now. Now, when around her, I am polite to her, don't go out of my way to be in the same room with her and just get thru it.

The sad thing is, I would be very close to her, if she weren't the way that she is. She can be very nice and fun to be around, but other times her claws come out (of course, hidden with mittens as she is passive-aggressive) and so the 2 steps forward that I may have taken in trusting that she'd begin treating me kindly/consistently......... now, I take 4 steps back.

I have known her long enough, 12yrs, that now I see her trend and sadly, we will NEVER be able to have a very close MIL/DIL relationship. More sad for her than me, as I can be VERY loyal. She is missing out.

HTH.  :)