Author Topic: Controlling dil  (Read 9863 times)

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Offline justanoldgrandma

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Controlling dil
« on: November 10, 2011, 07:06:17 AM »
I've posted about this before but haven't been on lately.  My dil can be charming, thank us for everything we do, good with pictures, cards, gifts for us but....

is so darned spoiled (her whole family is so "whatever" and just lets rude behavior slip by anyone....just lets it go.  The extended family is very large and very close; there is less financial responsibility and a lot more impulsivity in the family than in ours; however, they are polite to us although dh doesn't feel included, but it's ok w me what attention we get. 

Dil was in control of her immediate family to an extent (more responsible than mother) so she grew up spoiled yet controlling. 
So....she has a sudden temper, questions nearly everything, "Why are the eggs still out"; "why did you dress gs that way" ; "why did you wash that load with the wrong soap"......... now that's to dh and me.  With our son, her husband, it's "why are you so late from work? ((he really wasn't))", "why are you going on that trip for work?", "why didn't you feed the dog?"  etc. etc. etc.

I am a people pleaser.....so I get my feelings hurt.  Any hints on comebacks?  It does make me feel better just not to answer sometimes and walk out of the room or to say something silly back.

I am very disappointed in ds who rarely retorts back, works like a dog at work and home (dil is sahm and he does help a lot), does everything to please...... I want to say, "Hey man up!" because his daughter is already spoiled (he is too easy on her, too.....); he is assertive at work and wasn't raised to be a wimp.....

I know I can't change him or say anything to him about his wife.   Disastrous!  I do think when she says these sometimes cruel, snappy things to him that I shouldn't look away like I do; that I should at least give him a look, like, "really?"  But I know better than to interfere.

DS is just too sweet; well, I'm a people pleaser and am submissive to a point w dh so guess ds comes by it naturally.....

Ok, how do I maintain some self-respect while being "bossed around" by dil?  I know Dr. Phil says we teach others how to treat us.  I don't want to lose the family.  Oh, btw, dil is bossy w her own family and even friends (though she is careful around them.)  DH isn't around dil as much as I am but just accepts that she is what she is.  I keep waiting for him to blow (a few words) bc he can have a temper, though he is quite controlled around the family.

I know I've posted about this before..... I need a refresher course!  thanks!

Offline pam1

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Re: Controlling dil
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2011, 07:17:06 AM »
justanoldgrandma, good to see you again :)

I know what you mean, I know some people like that too.  I prefer to say really dumb stuff back, like if she is telling you how to load the dishwasher or asking why you did it a certain way -- I would just get stupid with it and ask her to show me and go through a big charade and then laugh.  She'll get it.  But you have to be able to do it with a good sense of humor or she will find it offensive, but if you can do it silly enough, she might get the hint.

Or, you can always just straight out tell her what you've said here -- you enjoy her company, give her the compliments but then say it really hurts when you do/say this stuff.  Can you knock it off?  If she is how you say she is, she might not even know how she's coming across and would be open to hearing your point of view.

And you're right, there is nothing you can do about the treatment DS accepts, so I think mentioning that is the last thing you should do.  Just talk for you and from the heart.
People throw rocks at things that shine - Taylor Swift

Offline Scoop

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Re: Controlling dil
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2011, 07:26:06 AM »
Is it possible that DIL is a direct speaker and you're an indirect speaker?  Because her questions seem okay to me.

Q: "Why are the eggs still out"
A: Oh, I got distracted after breakfast.
or
A: They've only been out for 10 minutes or so, I was going to put them away after breakfast.
or
A: Yeah, we kind of got carried away after making the muffins, here, let me put them away.

Q: "why did you dress gs that way"
A: I thought it was cute!
or
A: We weren't going out anywhere today, so I figured I'd let him be comfy.  I was going to dress him better (warmly, whatever) if we decided to go out.

Q: "why did you wash that load with the wrong soap"
A: I just used the one on the shelf.
or
A: Which soap do you prefer?
(Or better yet, why are you doing laundry at DIL's? - You should probably stop that.  My Mom does some laundry for us but I wouldn't want my MIL to.)

As for the questions to your son:

"why are you so late from work?"
Maybe, he was supposed to be home early, because HIS parents were visiting.  Again, I wouldn't want my IL's visiting while my DH went to work.  We just don't have that kind of relationship.

"why are you going on that trip for work?"
Maybe she wants to know?  I don't get why this is a mean question.  Maybe her tone was mean?  But maybe she doesn't like when he goes on trips for work and then she's in charge of the kids and the dog without a break.  Without even a warm body in the house, so she can go grocery shopping alone.  Maybe she can't sleep when he's not there. 

"why didn't you feed the dog?"
Was the dog his idea?  Maybe they have a deal where HE feeds the dog.  I know it sounds petty, but that's how it works in our house too.  Sure, I COULD clean the litter boxes and I COULD take out the trash and I COULD empty and re-load the dishwasher, but those are my DH's ONLY jobs around the house.  Because honestly, he COULD make the lunches, he COULD get DD's breakfast, or help her pick clothes, or brush her hair, or help her get her stuff ready for school (and that's just the AM routine).

The thing is, especially with the questions to your DS.   You're not party to their marriage, you don't know the deals they've made and you don't know how they work things out.  ANd honestly, it's none of your business anyway.

I can't remember where I saw this, but it was "lying liars lie" and you know what?  Bossy people are bossy.  And bossy people think they know what's best. 

Unfortunately, as the Mom of her family, she does get to be the boss of things in her house.  So the way for you to avoid being bossed is not to put yourself in a position of being "the employee" with her as "the boss".  So stop working for her.  You get to be the fun Gma who plays with the kids.  YIPPEE!

Now, if she starts being bossy to you for other things, you can always answer with humour: "you're not my real mom!" or "you're not the boss of me!" If you say it funny, what can she say?

Doe

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Re: Controlling dil
« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2011, 07:50:38 AM »
It sounds like her questions are the kind that poke your attention in on yourself and trip you up - is that right?  That's how it might affect me.

Maybe every time she asks 'why', answer with "Why do you ask?" and put the attention back on her.  She'll have to think it through and explain it.

amflautist

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Re: Controlling dil
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2011, 08:12:51 AM »
Q: "Why are the eggs still out"
A: Oh, I got distracted after breakfast.
or
A: They've only been out for 10 minutes or so, I was going to put them away after breakfast.
or
A: Yeah, we kind of got carried away after making the muffins, here, let me put them away.

Q: "why did you dress gs that way"
A: I thought it was cute!
or
A: We weren't going out anywhere today, so I figured I'd let him be comfy.  I was going to dress him better (warmly, whatever) if we decided to go out.

Q: "why did you wash that load with the wrong soap"
A: I just used the one on the shelf.
or
A: Which soap do you prefer?
(Or better yet, why are you doing laundry at DIL's? - You should probably stop that.  My Mom does some laundry for us but I wouldn't want my MIL to.)

As for the questions to your son:

"why are you so late from work?"
Maybe, he was supposed to be home early, because HIS parents were visiting.  Again, I wouldn't want my IL's visiting while my DH went to work.  We just don't have that kind of relationship.

"why are you going on that trip for work?"

"why didn't you feed the dog?"

I find Scoop's answers too submissive.  I'd like to take a crack at the answer category too.

Q: "Why are the eggs still out"
A: We're waiting for a hen to babysit them.

Q: "why did you dress gs that way"
A: Did you buy her that outfit?

Q: "why did you wash that load with the wrong soap"
A: I'll leave it for you next time.

Q: "why are you so late from work?"
A: I was schmoozing with the boss.

Q: "why are you going on that trip for work?"
A: The pay and benefits are good.

Q: "why didn't you feed the dog?"
A: He asked for steak.  We don't have any.


Offline Pen

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Re: Controlling dil
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2011, 08:59:53 AM »
Is DIL bossing you around at your house (like mine does) or at her house?
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb

Offline alohomora

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Re: Controlling dil
« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2011, 09:05:05 AM »
I'm having a hard time spotting the problem with the questions DIL is posing. I had to stay home once for a few months due to health reasons. When DH would get home late, without calling to let me know, I would always be grumpy with him (especially if dinner was cold when he got home) and would ask him why. I also hate when he has to travel for work and often ask him why he's going on a trip and if its possible to do it over a video conference (sometimes they do that). And when we had a cat, sometimes I'd be gone all day come home and ask why he didnt feed it.

The other one's don't seem rude either...if they were more 'why did you dress DS that way what the heck were you thinking GEEZ!' that would be rude. But getting asked questions doesn't make your son a wimp. And if it's not bothering him, why let it bother you? Clearly he's not sweating the small stuff.

Offline Pooh

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Re: Controlling dil
« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2011, 09:25:17 AM »
I don't think the questions that grandma gave as examples are bad in themselves but I would be willing to bet it was just her examples that this occurs constantly.  Constant questions that could be considered criticizing in nature?  If its constant and about every little thing that occurs, I can see where it wears you down and makes you feel like everything you do is scrutinized?

Just a guess on my end because my Ex Mil was like that.  Always questioning every little thing I did with the boys, house, work, etc. and after a while, it gets old as it became obvious it wasn't questions being asked out of concern, but criticism that she thought she could do everything better and I didn't know what I was doing.

I think you have three choices, ignore it, a serious talk or deflection with humor as the others suggested.  I also agree it should only be about the things she is directing at you, nothing to do with DS.  If he will not do anything about it, then that's a choice he is making and you have to stay out of it.  You don't have to like it when you hear it and see it, but you can't comment on it.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell

Offline Scoop

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Re: Controlling dil
« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2011, 09:43:59 AM »
I'm hip to the fact that it could be the tone or it could be CONSTANT questioning.  But then, my question would be: Why are you doing these things that DIL questions?

Eggs out - were you cooking in 'her' kitchen?  If she doesn't like it, stop cooking.
GS clothes - did you pick them and dress him?  If she doesn't like it, stop 'helping'
laundry - are you doing their laundry? If she doesn't like it, stop 'helping'

Now, if this is in YOUR house and she's questioning why YOUR eggs are out, and why you're doing YOUR OWN laundry with the "wrong" soap - that's a totally different story and you can feel free to be as cheeky as you want.

My Aunt goes to visit my cousin and his wife, and really, she just TAKES OVER.  Don't get me wrong, I love her like a second mother, but I could NOT handle having her as my MIL.  My Aunt is SO LUCKY that her DIL is really laid back and doesn't mind how intrusive my Aunt is.  So maybe it's a question of personalities?

Sassy

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Re: Controlling dil
« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2011, 09:46:55 AM »
Quote
So....she has a sudden temper, questions nearly everything, "Why are the eggs still out"; "why did you dress gs that way" ; "why did you wash that load with the wrong soap"......... now that's to dh and me.

I'm sorry I cannot recall, do you live in her house? Does she stay in yours?

I ask because I wouldn't want any guests in my eggs, dressing my children, or touching my washing machine.

Offline Pooh

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Re: Controlling dil
« Reply #10 on: November 10, 2011, 09:50:22 AM »
I agree we need the dynamics of the situation.  Because the other side is that DIL could insist that grandma be in charge of breakfast when she stays over, that grandma was babysitting (because they asked her to) and when she arrived, questioned the outfit and maybe grandma babysat and GS soiled his clothes and she was trying to wash them before the stains set in, thus the new outfit?

There could be so many scenarios.

We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell

Sassy

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Re: Controlling dil
« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2011, 10:46:14 AM »
By the way, just for the record, I also hate the word Why used in the way your DIL does.  When you're in close quarters with someone, it is an extra irritating way of them saying something's wrong.  It may be "indirect" but it feels worse, it feels very passive aggressive to me.  I know exactly two men who used that kind of "why" with their partners.  "Why are there toys all over the floor?  Why didn't you answer the phone at 2 o'clock?  Why isn't dinner ready?"  FWIW, both men were control freaks and their partners have since left them. 

That being said, I also have trouble with the concept of it being "controlling" when it comes to someone who is in in deed and in fact control of what they're responsible for. Such as the state of their home and decisions for their children.   I remember when my own MIL told me I was controlling about our wedding.  DH explained the accusation was made because I didn't give to her the control that she wanted over parts of it (no she wasn't funding it).  I actually walked around for a few days trying to grasp how me wanting to buy pretty flowers instead of me buying the reusable green leafy plants she suggested, made me "controlling." 

I've read that control is usually someone's way of easing their own anxiety.  If your DIL has anxiety if things aren't where she expects them to be, it could come out that way.  She might like things a certain way, because it gives her comfort. Predicatability makes her feel secure.    She encouters something unexpected in an area, and it might feel like a tiny panic.  If you don't have this kind of need, her reaction wouldn't make much sense.   Considering her family background, this might make sense for her? 

Offline pam1

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Re: Controlling dil
« Reply #12 on: November 10, 2011, 10:56:56 AM »
IMO, the tone DIL uses can influence this a lot.  It may not be controlling but in context of someone saying/questioning with an attitude, I can see where it would come across as controlling.  So context matters a lot here.

Even if she is just curious, IMO, I would find it just plain annoying.  But that's my personality, constant questioning doesn't sit well with me.  It's one thing to ask "did you feed the dog?" b/c she wants to know if it's something she needs to do or needs to get done.  It's another thing entirely to ask "why" constantly.  There's nothing IMO productive with constant "why" questions.  Some people just do things differently and I think most people would be annoyed to constantly have to answer why they did something, in a way they did and why they did it lol.
People throw rocks at things that shine - Taylor Swift

Offline Scoop

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Re: Controlling dil
« Reply #13 on: November 10, 2011, 11:13:16 AM »
One more thing!  Could it be a habit of the DIL's to ask "why" questions instead of saying (for example) "It's too cold for GS to wear shorts" or "I really worry about salmonella, so it's important to me for the eggs to be put away".

My DH does something like this.  He'll say "Are you going to do xxx?" instead of "Can you do xxx?"  It sounds SO SNOTTY to me!  It caused some strife between us, but in the end, we worked it out.  Since he can't seem to break the habit (and I think everyone knows how hard that is), I've had to learn not to take offense to it.  But I do sometimes say "I think what you MEANT to say was "can you do xxxx?" and then he'll get all gooey and say "Oh my beloved, could you pretty please do xxx?" and we laugh.  But that's us.

Offline alohomora

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Re: Controlling dil
« Reply #14 on: November 10, 2011, 04:17:52 PM »
lol! that's cute scoop I like that.

My DH, sometimes on our way home from work will say 'What's for dinner?'

I used to get SO angry about that. We both work the same amount of hours and we commute together. He knows I have no clue what is for dinner, and the implication was (truly was, not just in my head was) what am I making for dinner.

DH loves my cooking to pieces. Makes him smile from ear to ear when I cook. Smacks his fingers and says 'thank you so much for that delicious meal my love!'. Way over the top but he loves it.

I hate coming home after a long day and making a meal. So these comments just annoyed the heck out of me. Again, I learned to not get angry when he said this - he's not some macho man who never cooks - he's simply hoping (almost puppy like) that I'll be cooking that night.