Author Topic: DIL that has a dilemma  (Read 7120 times)

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BitterDIL06

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DIL that has a dilemma
« on: October 28, 2010, 12:41:15 PM »
Ok so.... I have an issue with my MIL  :) Why else would I  be here?

Here goes.....


I have been married to my husband for almost five years. We have two little boys ages 4 & 2. My husband comes from a divorced family. His dad is remarried and his mother is divorced again. Right after the birth of my first son, we moved closer to my parents because I come from a VERY close knit family and my husband had lost his job. Where my parents lived had a much higher call for his background for employment options. My mother is one of my best friends and was willing to stay home with my son so I could return to work.   His mother hates that fact. She feels that we should have moved closer to her instead of my family. First of all my husband rarely called his mother before I came into the picture, we are talking about maybe a phone call once a month and a vist once every 18 month.  During my entire pregnancy NO ONE in his family called to check on me while he was gone on travel except his stepmother but as soon as my son was born, it was like they were entitled to him. His mother was mad that she was no allowed there for his birth, (Yes my mom was there for the birth and two weeks after), she was upset that she was only able to stay for 5 days (her choice) and then she was upset that my family returned for Thanksgiving that year to help me. The year he was born we spent Xmas with my parents at their house because that was all I wanted from my husband that year. (I had spent the previous Xmas with him and his mother which was the only Xmas I have not spent with my parents since birth!) Well after we moved, she came to visit us (my brother was returning from Iraq the same time and my husband told her no it wouldnt be a good time but she came any ways) and asked if she could stay at my parents house. I thought that was rude but my husband told her my parents house was full. She then came down for my sons 1st first birthday and proceeded to tell EVERYONE at my house that since she was not allowed at his birth, she was at his party. She also got mad that  my son was distant with her (he is shy still!) and was very loving with my parents, who he stays with every day. This is a repetative cycle to this day. She invites herself down to stay with us on their birthdays (not offering to get a hotel room) and then proceeds to tell everyone that I didnt allow her at the births and gets mad that my children interact more with my family and that they dont know her. She even suggested to my husband that we hang an 8x10 of her in their rooms so they can see her every day!    I have told my husband that she should come down other times besides their birthdays and then she would get more one on one time with them but neither him nor her listen to me. She expects me to not invite my parents to their parties, Xmas, Thnxgiving, etc.  This year I decided not to have a big party for my sons bday because both my husband and I work full time and I am in school full time and our weekends are jam packed. We had taken a long weekend and took our sons to Disney instead of a party. She is mad about it ! We chose to exclude her is what she told my husband. No we excluded EVERYONE and had a family vacation (which we needed!)  She even invited herself on our vacation but my husband actually put his foot down with her (for once!) and told her no. So instead of his bday, she asked us when she could come up and my husband gave her 2 weekends that we didnt have school finals and he wasnt working. Well neither of those were conveinent for her and she got mad telling us we were excluding her. She invited herself and her friend for Thnxgiving to stay on my couch, which irritated me to no end. She changed her mind about Thxgiving and set her sights on Xmas. When I said no to Xmas (because I have a new neice and new nephew this year, plus my brother is in the Army and set to deploy in January) she became irate and told my husband that she wasnt welcome here, she was one person and didnt take up much room and we have excuses for any time thats convienent for her. Well my husband and I both work full time, I go to school full time, he goes to school part time, plus his job requires weekend work) so right now we are barely staying afloat this semester. His mother does not understand this though she wants us to drop all of our plans (homework, work, out of town visitors, visits out of town) so she can come visit. I finally cancelled my husband's bday present ( suprise weekend away, its been 3.5 years since we have gone away together) so that she could come visit when she doesnt have plans.  I know it sounds like the ramblings of a bitter DIL but I mean her and I do not see eye to eye on my children (I spank) and she doesnt even like her son and I to be romantic and kiss in front of her! (How does she think she got grandkids?) She is a very high maintenance guest (expects to watch whatever she wants on tv, needs to be constantly entertained) and never offers to pay for anything while she is here (which i dont expect her to pay but the offer would be nice!)  And she has told my husband that she wishes he would have married someone more like her! ( I am her polar opposite and PROUD of it ) My list could go on and on and on.
Help me please learn how to deal with her!!!!!     

catchingup

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Re: DIL that has a dilemma
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2010, 01:05:03 PM »


I would say with confidence that Mother-in-law problems are always on the sons side.
She is lucky you have made the effort you have and have not rejected her totally as some daughter-in-laws do.
In fact you have not rejected her at all. This is in her own mind because you spend more time with your own mother and family which is quite natural because you feel at home ,accepted and more comfortable with them.

I had a terrible MIL but at least it has given me insight ,what not to do when I am a MIL which i will be pretty soon.

Mothers spend the best part of their lives bringing up children then they have to let go when another woman ( or man)takes over.They feel a loss and react accordingly.
If I was you I would try my best to make her feel loved. Take her out to lunch or do something special for her.
It sounds as if she lives a way from you. Perhaps you can phone her and just ask how she is. Dont give up on the first bad reaction. Phone again,take an interest in what she is doing and if the efford yields no results then at least you have tried. She also needs to know how busy your lives are and why you cant spend as much time with her as she would like.
Also give her the opportunity to talk to your children on the phone.
If this does not change her attitude nothing will.

My problem with my MIL was never really resolved but she was very difficult.

LaurieS

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Re: DIL that has a dilemma
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2010, 01:09:06 PM »
Do you really want to 'deal with her' or do you need a sounding board?  Throughout your posting you gave examples and immediately followed with justification an example that I felt stood out was this:

The year he was born we spent Xmas with my parents at their house because that was all I wanted from my husband that year. (I had spent the previous Xmas with him and his mother which was the only Xmas I have not spent with my parents since birth!)

I  have to ask.. who did  your dh share his holidays with if it wasn't his parents and family?

You went on to speak about how inconvenience her visits are etc.  I'm not saying that  you are wrong, please do not misunderstand, but no where did I hear in your post where you really wanted her to be a part of your life at any time. Nor do you have time in your or your FOO's hectic lives to squeeze her in.  She sounds to me like a parent who feels like she's been put on the back burner and feeling restless.  None of us know her financial situation but you seem insulted that she is not getting a hotel room.. could it be that she doesn't have the funds?

I'm not trying to label you as "one of those" DIL's, but I think if you read your own posting with open eyes you'll see that this could be a case of 50/50 responsibility for this path that you both following.  Wishing you well.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2010, 01:11:26 PM by Laurie »

catchingup

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Re: DIL that has a dilemma
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2010, 01:33:23 PM »

Laurie to a certain extent you are right but will this MIL ever be satisfied.

Reading Bitterdil's post is like reading the other side of the story most MIL's post here.It is always a matter of being rejected by DIL
 If she is given more attention will she become more demanding or will she set her boundries. It is a matter of personality.

If and when I gave my MIL my little finger she would take my whole hand.

I think bitterdil should keep on posting and get some good advise from all the wise women here and lets hope we have results,results results.
So welcome Bitterdil we are here for you.

miss_priss

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Re: DIL that has a dilemma
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2010, 01:40:48 PM »
Quote
First of all my husband rarely called his mother before I came into the picture, we are talking about maybe a phone call once a month and a visit once every 18 month.  During my entire pregnancy NO ONE in his family called to check on me while he was gone on travel except his stepmother but as soon as my son was born, it was like they were entitled to him.

It may very well be a case of 50/50 in reaction...but I have to call attention to the fact that DH and his M didn't have a "tight" relationship BEFORE DIL, so how can that possibly be DIL's fault?  Why the sudden change of heart from the MIL, and pushing herself into their lives once her son is married and has children?  MIL didn't have an interest in them before, what reason does DIL have to trust her now?  I mean, it really sounds like this woman is trying to move in now that she has some sweet little babies to get her hands on!  Why now?  Did she think that grandchildren was her ticket in the door?  Grandparenting is a priviledge, not a right.  And she obviously didn't care enough to maintain a relationship with her son or DIL BEFORE the grandchildren came along...she couldn't even call DIL when she was pregnant.  But now she thinks she has a right to be a grandma?  Come on.   

BDIL06 - Sheesh, what a "lovely" person you have for a MIL.  Her complaints and demands sound SO familiar.  I don't even know where to start dear.  Boundaries maybe?  It sounds like this woman doesn't have a clue what that word means, and sadly there are some women out there who honestly believe there shouldn't be any boundaries between them and their children.  They feel "entitled" to them and feel it's their RIGHT to have a controlling presence their entire lives simply because they are mothers.  It's really true-to-form that she suddenly wanted a quasi-relationship with her son once he reproduced and she had new babies to play with!  JOY!  You've got a real piece of work on your hands. 

I would suggest you pick up the book "Toxic In-Laws" and read it.  Then read it again.  Then have DH read it.  Then have DH read it again.  Then get yourselves to counseling so that you and DH can learn how to set, and clearly communicate, healthy boundaries.  Her lack of concern for a relationship with her son until he had children, and now she's jealous that your FOO loves him as their own...my gosh, she should be thankful that someone gave him the love she obviously didn't care to give him before he had children. 

I'm very sorry you're going through this.  The best advice I can give you is to lower your expectations of her.  She sounds very unreasonable and socially inept, and if you expect her to act differently then you'll just be setting yourself up for disappointment and unnecessary drama.  You can't change her, but you can change how you react to her, and the best way to react is by not giving her the satisfaction of a reaction at all.

Best of luck to you.     

free_at_last

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Re: DIL that has a dilemma
« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2010, 02:02:55 PM »
Is your husband willing to back you up in setting some boundaries?  It sounds like you are trying to be reasonably accommodating and she continues to be disrespectful....he should be backing you up in not allowing that behavior from her.  If he wasn't close to her before he met you, and hasn't shown any interest in you or in your pregnancy, she has no right to expect that she should get equal access to her grandchildren as compared to your family which you are apparently very close to. 

miss_priss

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Re: DIL that has a dilemma
« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2010, 02:21:09 PM »
Quote
Is your husband willing to back you up in setting some boundaries?  It sounds like you are trying to be reasonably accommodating and she continues to be disrespectful....he should be backing you up in not allowing that behavior from her.  If he wasn't close to her before he met you, and hasn't shown any interest in you or in your pregnancy, she has no right to expect that she should get equal access to her grandchildren as compared to your family which you are apparently very close to. 


I agree with 99% of this, except for the part about him backing YOU up.  It's HIS mother, HE should be setting the boundaries and YOU should be backing HIM up.  Don't let him put you in the awful position that so many DH's do, where you get to play the bad guy while he sits back all innocent letting you take the blame for everything his mother doesn't like. 

LaurieS

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Re: DIL that has a dilemma
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2010, 03:23:07 PM »
Ok 60/40 or 70/30.. whatever the ratio might be, making it right starts when you can accept any part of the problem.  While I agree that this should be a case of her dh accepting responsibility for setting some boundaries with his mother, the dil has the right to decided where she can and can not bend as well. 

I was saying that I can see with the lack of balance in this situation why there would be issues to overcome.  I can only relate to issues I have with my own DIL, it has become obvious that she always needs (and rightfully so) individual quality time with her family, but whenever my son sets up something with us, we are expected to share all of our time with them and with her parents involved as well.

LaurieS

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Re: DIL that has a dilemma
« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2010, 03:27:36 PM »

Laurie to a certain extent you are right but will this MIL ever be satisfied.

Reading Bitterdil's post is like reading the other side of the story most MIL's post here.It is always a matter of being rejected by DIL
 If she is given more attention will she become more demanding or will she set her boundries. It is a matter of personality.

That is the question Catchingup, but until they try it will remain unknown. 

Offline Pen

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Re: DIL that has a dilemma
« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2010, 07:18:39 PM »
Just because sons don't call their FOOs as often as daughters do doesn't automatically mean they're not as close to them. I don't think we can use the same criterion for men and women to measure who has more right to spend time with their FOOs.

As a young DIL I prefered my FOO's way of doing things. My then-DH enjoyed being with my family because we shared common interests and there wasn't any childhood baggage for him to deal with. But, he also loved his FOO and I wouldn't have dreamed of coming between them. Then-DH didn't see or speak with his FOO as often as I did with mine because they lived across the country, but he loved them just as much, maybe more; who can say? How does one measure?

I cannot condone MILs who behave horribly, but I finally understand where some of their pain comes from now that the shoe is...you know.

Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb

LaurieS

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Re: DIL that has a dilemma
« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2010, 07:38:08 PM »
Well stated Pen.

barelythere

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Re: DIL that has a dilemma
« Reply #11 on: October 28, 2010, 07:41:50 PM »
Well stated Pen.

Very well stated, Pen.  It hurts to be a Mother In Law.  You can't do anything right. You always are the loser and it hurts deeply.

justdontunderstand

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Re: DIL that has a dilemma
« Reply #12 on: October 28, 2010, 10:19:56 PM »
Dear Bitter,
I am a MIL but I definitely can understand your hurt and frustration. When you feel you are trying (even if you are making inadvertent mistakes in reading the other person), it is never an easy road. I am glad you could vent some of that frustration here. It really can help just to get it all out.

Needy or self centered people can become, over time, very tiresome.  if they aren't family, we can just walk away. If they are family, it is much more complicated. It sounds to me that you definitely see your MIL as unreasonable in her needs and/or is self centered. It seems that you also are saying she failed to make a strong bond with your DH and you therefore resent her behavior even more because of that simple fact.  "How dare she be so demanding when she didn't meet your DH's needs enough to form a strong bond"  or something along that line.

It seems to me that DH, might take the lead here on what boundaries you both can set. If somehow you can make her feel welcome within those boundaries, then things might get better. My own dear sweet Mom used to say, "You can't be a carpet unless you lie down!".  My suggestion is, if you truly feel she oversteps boundaries and is TOO often thoughtless, then come up with a plan with DH to include her but on terms that work for your family.

Another suggestion is that when she repeats that "I wasn't at the birth story" then say, "You know I think we all know that story and we really need to move on. What we are doing right now is the important thing not ancient history!" Smile when you say it! Hopefully she will get the message that it doesn't help her to keep dwelling on the past. GOOD LUCK!

Offline Nana

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Re: DIL that has a dilemma
« Reply #13 on: October 29, 2010, 12:32:16 AM »
Dear Bitter dil

I am a mil who did have a lot a problems with dil for some time (not anymore thank God).  But I think that your mil didnt ever give you a reason to want her near; that I understand.  Because she was not close and did not have a concern for you, she never won your affection.  You dh has a good relationship with your family because he feels comfortable with them and they have always been there for you.  You mil wants more time, acknowledgement and love from her gc thus putting herself in a no-win comparison with your family.

She is jealous of your foo's privilidges.....but privilidges are won....not forced upon.  I do feel sorry for your mil because she always gets "No"answers.  But what surprises me is that the most she is rejected, the more she pushes. 

I agree with the advice of trying to show her some bit of affection, calling her once in a while and maybe inviting her by surprise some day to have some time with you (make the sacrifice lol).  But she will understand that it all depends on your time and agenda. 


You are not a bad dil.  You do worry about it-- if you didnt you wouldn't  even try to justify yourself.
Set boundaries for her.... she does sound a very possessive person.  Just keep the necessary distance from her.

That is my opinion....
Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds, Or bends with the remover to remove:
Shakespeare

free_at_last

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Re: DIL that has a dilemma
« Reply #14 on: October 29, 2010, 06:07:59 AM »
Yes, it should be her DH that  communicates the boundaries, but if he's not willing to do that and is willing to at least back her up, that is a start.  In my case it was my fault no matter what....when my husband told them that he made his own decisions, they still didn't believe him.  I would hope that isn't the case in most situations, though.

BitterDIL didn't say that her husband doesn't love his mother, she only said that they didn't speak to or see each other all that much and that MIL didn't take any interest in BDIL or her pregnancy, not even bothering to call and see how she was doing once in a while.  Yet, she suddenly expects "equal time" and access to the babies whenever she wants it, and gets upset when she doesn't get her way.  I don't see the logic in that, at all.  As someone else said....grandparenting is a privilege, not a right.