Author Topic: What's up with that behaviour ?  (Read 2707 times)

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Anja

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What's up with that behaviour ?
« on: November 08, 2010, 09:02:19 AM »
Hey, I am a newbie here.

I have been married for 2 years. I love my husband, so I try to make my relationship with my MIL as smooth as possible (not always easy, as she has a tendency to treating my husband/her only son as if he were her husband - she is married but her relationship with her own real husband is not great).

Anyway, to the point. I am posting here to get some input from other MILs about a weird behaviour of my MIL.

Ever since I married her son, my MIL has tried to 'be a mother to me', to act like a replacement mother, because my parents supposedly raised me without giving me affection and she needs to make up for that.
In particular, she has gotten very involved in a very minor but annoying health problem of mine, blowing it out of proportion, sharing with everyone how concerned she was about it, how horrible it was that my parents never did anything about it, and how it could have disastrous consequences for me. I was extremely angered about it, as the problem in question is not something I share with people (as it is embarrassing), it is, as I already mentioned, absolutely minor and inconsequential, which is the reason why my parents (health professionals) are not worried about it. In addition to that, she keeps telling people what a poor girl I am, raised by parents so strict, without real motherly/fatherly affection.
Now - nothing could be further from the truth: I had a golden childhood, with loving parents and wonderful siblings; my parents did every thing they could for us, always had our back (still do), which is why we are now successful, happy adults. My mother is an exceptional woman, who never sticks her nose in other people's business, who understand what I want to tell her without me even getting into details, and very wise.

So where does my MIL's behaviour come from ? Why on earth does she insist on saying these things about my parents ? Why can't she understand that I don't need her to be a mother to me (if I were to choose a second mother, I would never choose her anyways!)? Why can't she back off, stay out of my business and stop slandering my parents ?

For the record, she has her own daughters, so I'm not 'the daughter she never had'.

Can someone shed some light on this ?

Offline luise.volta

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Re: What's up with that behaviour ?
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2010, 09:16:52 AM »
I think one of the fist things we have learned on this Website is that there is no understanding the insane stuff some MILs and DILs do...(that often makes sense to them.) Trying to figure it out is a lost cause. How to survive is the issue at hand. Sending love...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama

Offline Pooh

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Re: What's up with that behaviour ?
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2010, 10:51:46 AM »
Welcome Anja.  Like Luise said, "Who knows?"  People do stupid things and drive us bonkers in the process.  All we can do is set our boundaries and stick with them.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell

Offline Nana

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Re: What's up with that behaviour ?
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2010, 12:56:07 PM »
Dear Anja:

Your Mil does not know what descretion mean....she has no right to ventilate your life even if....even if it were true.  It is none of her business.   Your or dh should talk to her about it and set your boundaries.  No person like their parents to be bad-mouthed by others.  Sometimes we can say anything about our family members but it can be just us..

You have to stop this....probably speaking to your husband could help.  You dont need another mother....you have your own.... When my son was married....I too wanted my dil to love me like a second mother.  But I immediately understood that I could be a wonderful mil but a mother was not for me to decide.  So keep your boundaries with her before she mingles in something else.  She has an intruding and possessive personality.  Try to be nice to her because she does mean well, but she will go as far as you permit it.   

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

Offline pam1

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Re: What's up with that behaviour ?
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2010, 01:00:24 PM »
Welcome Anja :)

My MIL does something eerily similar.  My parents divorced when I was younger but there were no real hard feelings between them.  My siblings and I grew up feeling loved and have normal lives.  But anytime DH or I make a decision that MIL doesn't like?  Blame it on Pam's parents and their divorce lol.  Apparently I don't know love from a "true" family and my parents are extremely selfish people.

Whatever.  I don't know where she thinks this stuff up, heck I've never even talked to her about the divorce, there isn't some deep dark secret about it and nothing to even talk about.  We aren't frail, broken and damaged kids.  I don't know, I think sometimes she just has a screw loose.  But then I started observing her better and watched this dynamic...she brought up my parents anytime she didn't get her way.  I think it made her feel better to consider me the upbringing of screwed up parenting rather than face her own self.  It takes some attention away from why she just did what she did and tries to pin the focus on me or my parents.  It can't possibly be her and the decision that was made can't possibly be in response to her, it's always someone or something else. 

And there's always an element of competition she creates with my parents. I think anything that could possibly take away DH's attention is threatening to her.  That my parents could spend a holiday with him without her etc.  Heck, she doesn't even like it if my parents are in town and we go out without her....she wants to be there too.  And if she's not invited and she can't wrangle her own invitation, everyone is just bad.  They are bad people. Not that they just want to spend some quality time with DH and I, no they are doing it on purpose to her and they are bad.

So perhaps there is some dynamic in there with your MIL about feeling inadequate.  She feels a strong need to keep pursuing this and putting your parents down so obviously she's not feeling so great about herself. 

If it were me I would absolutely tell her health issues are off limits as far as discussions.  We do not inform MIL anything about our health due to this type of behavior.
People throw rocks at things that shine - Taylor Swift

justus

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Re: What's up with that behaviour ?
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2010, 01:49:19 PM »
My MIL is like this only 10 times worse. When we visited DH's family over the summer, I got an earful about how this kid was supposedly diagnosed as Failure to thrive even though it is 8 and was never hospitalized, and this pre-adolescent, incredibly healthy and athletic kid has anorexia because she was a few pounds underweight at her last Dr.'s visit, never mind that I saw her eating at the same rate as the other kids. Oh, and this other kid is going to end up pregnant because her dad committed suicide. I was never so happy to live so far away from her.

I think it comes from two places. First, she needs to feel needed. She has a savior complex, she has to be the one to swoop in and make things OK and she cannot do this if no on needs her or if there are not any problems. So, she creates problems where there are none.

Second, if everyone has some sort of horrible flaw, she can blow them off, and not take them seriously. She can infantilize them and be the Wise Woman everyone comes to for help. (Yes, she actually told us that she was a Wise Woman.) Obviously, people are doing this thing she does not agree with because of the way they were brought up, or some sort of sickness or mental illness. Funny how her children's flaws are not because of they way they were raised. She uses this making everyone into a victim as a way of infantilizing everyone and making them dependent on her. If she can convince us that we are all too flawed and stupid to make good decisions, then she can make them for us.

First thing you do is cut off the information train and make sure your DH is on board with you. Do not give this woman any personal information you don't want shared with the world. Lesson learned the hard way. You cannot make her think differently about your parents than she does, you can, however, confront her on sharing personal information about you with the world. Let her know that because she cannot keep her trap shut, she will not be getting anymore info. You can try to set her straight about your Ps, but I have a feeling she will just blow you off by saying that you protest too much. Let her think what she will. You can, however, set other people straight if they ask. You can even tell them that you prefer not to talk about that particular health issue because it is a personal problem.

Offline Pooh

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Re: What's up with that behaviour ?
« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2010, 07:05:09 AM »
I will tell on myself for something awful I did years ago.  My ex MIL and I never got along, and she was just like what you are talking about.  She was the town gossip and anything you said went straight to her office and was passed along, with her two cents worth of course.  No one was immune.  If a kid got in trouble at school, she told everyone how terrible their parents were.  If someone got a ticket, the parents fault.  Everything with her was always the parents fault and she would slander them to death.  My son fell off his bike one time and had to have stitches...and you bet she told everyone what a bad mother I was.  In reality, she was probably one of the worst examples of parenting I have ever met.  But to hear her tell it, she was Mother Teresa reincarnated.

So I heard this stuff for years and she called me one day to bring something by at my lunchtime to her at her work.  I walked in and the normal gossip was flying rampant.  She had an audience of about 8 women listening to her trash one of the Mother's in town.  I am not proud of what I did, but I was soooo tired of her by that point, that I very calmly went, "Oh MIL, did you tell them about your daughter getting arrested this weekend?"  And then I looked around at all the women and said, "You know, her youngest?  She is always in trouble but this time, it finally caught up with her.  I know MIL must be devastated."  And I walked off with my MIL's mouth dropped open, and if looks could kill.............

Ok, I know I shouldn't have done it....I know you shouldn't lower yourself to their level........but dang if it didn't feel good!
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell

barelythere

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Re: What's up with that behaviour ?
« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2010, 07:07:00 AM »
I will tell on myself for something awful I did years ago.  My ex MIL and I never got along, and she was just like what you are talking about.  She was the town gossip and anything you said went straight to her office and was passed along, with her two cents worth of course.  No one was immune.  If a kid got in trouble at school, she told everyone how terrible their parents were.  If someone got a ticket, the parents fault.  Everything with her was always the parents fault and she would slander them to death.  My son fell off his bike one time and had to have stitches...and you bet she told everyone what a bad mother I was.  In reality, she was probably one of the worst examples of parenting I have ever met.  But to hear her tell it, she was Mother Teresa reincarnated.

 ;D

So I heard this stuff for years and she called me one day to bring something by at my lunchtime to her at her work.  I walked in and the normal gossip was flying rampant.  She had an audience of about 8 women listening to her trash one of the Mother's in town.  I am not proud of what I did, but I was soooo tired of her by that point, that I very calmly went, "Oh MIL, did you tell them about your daughter getting arrested this weekend?"  And then I looked around at all the women and said, "You know, her youngest?  She is always in trouble but this time, it finally caught up with her.  I know MIL must be devastated."  And I walked off with my MIL's mouth dropped open, and if looks could kill.............

Ok, I know I shouldn't have done it....I know you shouldn't lower yourself to their level........but dang if it didn't feel good!

justdontunderstand

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Re: What's up with that behaviour ?
« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2010, 08:46:48 AM »
Anja,
Is it possible your MIL is really very insecure and  is trying to use your "health problem" to show other people how loving and kind she is (even above and beyond your parents)? Even though she is completely wrong in behaving this way, behavior is always motivated by people trying to have their needs met. If she feels insecure  generally or in her relationship with you specifically, she might be over exaggerating her concern for this minor problem you are having.  Could she be using this  to prove to others that she really cares for you? I don't mean to excuse her behavior just wondering out loud why she might be doing it.

In my moments of generousity/understanding toward the unloving things people do, I try to look beyond my own frustration and hurt to see what might be motivating them. It helps when I can do this because I see them as more "human" and less adversarial. Now I just wish I could be so "Ghandi" like more often toward my own DIL! ;)

Offline luise.volta

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Re: What's up with that behaviour ?
« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2010, 11:08:27 AM »
I need to know...did that really happen to her daughter or did you make that up? I probably have a warped sense of humor and I know I have a less-than-Ghani Soul...but I really enjoyed that!!  ;D ;D ;D
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama

Offline Pooh

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Re: What's up with that behaviour ?
« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2010, 06:14:38 AM »
Sorry Luise, not ignoring you....have been so busy the last couple of weeks that I haven't had a chance to get on here.

Yes, her youngest got arrested that weekend for public intoxication.  Was outside a bar yelling at cars (obviously drunk) and someone called about her.   Nothing major, just stupid 21 year old stuff. 

And I know, I am warped too.....it was not nice but felt so good.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell

Offline luise.volta

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Re: What's up with that behaviour ?
« Reply #11 on: November 22, 2010, 10:01:24 AM »
You aren't warped, dearheart, you're human!  ;)
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama

MrsKitty

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Re: What's up with that behaviour ?
« Reply #12 on: November 22, 2010, 04:08:14 PM »
I think that if your MIL starts going on about what a bad childhood you had, you should sit down and talk to her. Quote back the words she uses to describe your parents. Ask her how she would feel if your mother made a similar critique of her parenting skills. Tell her that you love your parents and you feel that your childhood was wonderful--so her criticisms are not warranted and they are not appreciated. Tell her that you would appreciate it if she never brought up the subject of your health to anyone again, as that is private.

If she insists on continuing with her behavior, I think you should use humor to make her feel foolish (and hopefully get her to stop). When she says that your parents never gave affection ring in with: "Oh yes, I didn't even know what a hug was until I was 18 years old. My parents also never fed me or clothed me either--it was horrible! I was so cold in the winter." When she brings up your medical issue just say: "How kind of you to bring up my personal medical condition as a topic of conversation. Shall we discuss your bowel movements next?"  ;D

Faithlooksup

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Re: What's up with that behaviour ?
« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2010, 06:32:11 AM »
Mrs Kitty~~I had to laugh at your last sentence...that was good!!!!

Anywho Anja, Welcome to Wise Women... I have not read all of the posts here so I do hope I am not repeating and if so my apologies...

Do buy the book "Boundaries" and begin to set them with you MIL...Sooner or later she will stop yaking and making mountains out of mohills--but as for now let her put her foot in her mouth so to speak.... For someday someone will mention to you what she has said and then you will be able to correct and state what is the truth, and that will make MIL look BAD~~your turn will come, that I truly believe..

Hugs, Faith :D

Sassy

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Re: What's up with that behaviour ?
« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2010, 12:19:56 PM »
Ah, so someone you love is a gossip.   Treat her like any other gossip you know:  Don't ever tell gossip a anything you don't want broadcast on the evening news.

That includes your health, your family, and what your famly says about your health.  That includes your DH.  Ask him to respect your privacy and ask him not to share any personal information about you with any gossips, including those you both love.

You can't control what MIL does, but you can totally control what you tell her. 

When she asks questions "everythings fine" and keep it upbeat and change the subject to something else you know she likes to talk about it. 

You've learned she is not a person who can support you in the way you need when you have a challenge, so do not seek for water where the well is dry.  You will be able to better appreciate her good points once you stop providing her with fodder to use for her own attention.  She'll eventually get her fodder elsewhere and you can enjoy her company much more.