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Playing the Victim at the GC's Expense

Started by cpr, April 29, 2012, 01:03:16 pm

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Hello WW-

I am at a loss with my MIL and her actions with my child. As I can see from the many stories here, her actions have followed a well known pattern. She was most fond of me and appeared most anxious for my DH to propose, once he did she decided she hated me and did all she could to run me off. Now that we have a child I see the baby being involved and I am aghast that a Grandmother could act this way!

She has only asked to see our baby 3 times in the past year. We live less than 10 minutes away as do her other GC. She sees her other GC frequently, often daily in fact. When we first had little one (LO) I attempted to initiate visits so LO would know his GP. It was always a hassle. Every visit would take approximately 3 phone calls and an email from me before she would reply. Then when I would get there FIL wouldn't be there as MIL was not telling him I was bringing LO. One day DH stopped by and all he heard for the entire 30 minutes he was there was how uncomfortable she was with my visits. So I told her that I would not bring him over anymore unless invited, but told her that she could call any time she wished to see LO. 2 months pass w/o an invite.

Then there is a family function and all she can do is tell everyone how hurt she is that 'she isn't allowed to see that baby' and talk about how awful I am! I again approach her (after the function) and tell her that I would never keep her GC from her and that DH and I are very hurt that she doesn't seem to want anything to do with LO. I tell her again that she can see LO everyday if she so wishes, just call and let me know. It has now been over three weeks and once again...no phone call.

She is telling everyone that will listen that I won't let her see her GC and the reality is I am BEGGING her to take an interest in LO. Now strangers are talking about what a horrible person I am and approaching DH as well as myself. I don't want a public airing of our family affairs, but I am at a loss here!

She refuses to put up photographs or accept photographs of our LO as well, though her entire house is covered with photographs of her other GC. I suspect that she is telling people that I will not give her any, though I have tried now on multiple occasions. I actually had one of the family members tell me I should give MIL some photographs and completely overcome with frustration I blurted out, "But I have! She won't take them or put them up." Then teared up. I was mortified, but the family member looked shocked. She stuttered something about how that couldn't be right.

LO is too small to see this now, but I worry about how it will make LO feel when it becomes apparent in not too many years that GM loves the cousins and the cousin's family, but not us.   :(

I also worry that people will approach LO and say that "Grandma wants to see you, but your Mommy won't let her."

How do I get her to stop? If she doesn't want to see us I won't go, but I can't keep silently standing there as strangers tell me what a bad mother I am for keeping a grandchild from a grandmother.

DH is completely depressed about the whole situation as he never thought this would happen. He feels that the whole thing is hopeless, yet he feels guilty if we do not keep going through the motion. The motions are just making us feel worse! I don't know what to do. My FOO always welcomed ILs so I have no help from them.


Cpr, I'm so sorry you & your family are going through this. I don't know what to say, it seems to be an absurd situation. From what you say, your MIL must derive pleasure from getting sympathy from others for her outright lies. Until she can't get anyone to buy into her stories I don't see how she'll be motivated to stop. One would think that her love for a GC would override this ridiculous need for attention, so I'm baffled. Many of the GMs here would walk through hot coals to see their GC!
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb


Oh wow cpr.  I'm so sorry.  What a horrible position to be in.  I also see where everyone is believing her because she's so involved with the other GC, how could she not be telling the truth.

Do you know what her reasons for "hating" you are, after the proposal?  Not that any of it is true, just curious if she has made her reasons known to DS or you.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell

lancaster lady


I would love to see you every day if you were my DIL !

Perhaps she can't believe the fact that she has a wonderful DIL , why she wants to make out she's a martyr
I've no idea .
Just back off and keep busy , perhaps that's the way to make her interested .
Maybe DH could pay a visit and ask WHY .


Quote from: lancaster lady on April 30, 2012, 09:43:26 am
Just back off and keep busy , perhaps that's the way to make her interested .

Great advice!

I would be honest all around - if people say you aren't letting her see GC, tell them the truth.  Mechanically, maybe you could email photos to everyone with a CC to GM so that it's obvious to everyone that she is included. 

When LO gets a little older you can explain that GM is a little senile (nutty) and sometimes can't figure out what reality is so don't expect a lot out of her.   Meanwhile, surround LO with your FOO if at all possible so that he doesn't have time to miss your MIL!   

I can attest that if a GP isn't interested, there isn't much you can do to make them interested (I tried for years).  Just do what you need to do to fulfill your own expectations of yourself, for yourself.


Thanks WW.

As to why she decide to hate me, uh, well that's a great question. I don't have a mother anymore and when we started planning the wedding I called MIL and mentioned some plans I was thinking of and asked her to help me choose a date. I also asked her when I started looking at venues if she would like to go with me. One day she just went off on me. She called me some very ugly names and went on a rant. Something I had never even thought she was capable of before that. Fortunately DH was sitting beside me at the time or he would not have believed me. He called her about 30 minutes after we got off of the phone and asked why she would do that. She lied and said she had not. He then informed her that he had heard the entire thing. Then she changed her tune and cried. She said she was sorry (to him) and said she would call me right away. He told her not to as he knew I was most likely still crying. So she sent a half-hearted 'apology' email telling me she should have kept her opinions of me to herself. Two weeks before this she had been the woman that loved everything about me and told DH he would never find anyone else as great as me and that HE was lucky to be marrying me. After that it was just a constant barrage of hate.

The thing is DH had always felt like the black sheep of the family. I was the one that got him to start visiting them again. By the time we got engaged we were going over there for dinner at least once a week, I had been talking to DH about bringing MIL on vacation with us the following year as we were going somewhere she had always wanted to go and I was super excited about joining their family, not just marrying DH but becoming a part of their family.

His brother did tell him that she had done the same thing with his wife when they married years ago, but that she had calmed down. With me she has just continued to up the ante. It's very upsetting.

DH has tried on multiple occasions to talk to her about this. It does no good. She refuses to acknowledge there is an issue. She always calls me right before a big holiday or family gathering saying that she wants things to be different and that she is willing to try. Then she will be ugly (when no one is near) at said holiday or gathering then ignore me once the holiday or gathering has passed.

I've tried backing off - she just uses it against me whenever she does see me ("well, you never call ME!")
I've tried being the bigger person - she is just mean and ignores me
I've tried speaking to her directly - she tells everyone that I "attacked" her and then once again I'm awful
I've tried washing my hands of her - I am once again the bad guy and she has 'no idea' why I 'hate' her

It really seems that she is getting more pleasure from seeing others dislike me than from the sympathy she garners. I just don't know what to do. I hate the idea of having everyone know about this, but I am so sick of being the 'horrible mean DIL'.

lancaster lady

This sounds to me like a power struggle , she is yanking your chain big time .
She knows what she is doing and seems to enjoy doing it .
I wouldn't dance to her tune any more , do not acknowledge her at all , and if she ignores
you , well so be it .
I would bet she will soon come looking to see where her ''playmate'' has gone  .
Refuse to interact in any way until she treats you like a human being .


I agree.  It sounds like she is getting "attention" by playing the whoa is me card with everyone else.  Let her play go fish by herself.  I know that's hard because you hate the lies she's telling, but the only way to deal with a liar is give them enough rope.  They'll hang themselves eventually.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell


Quote from: Pooh on April 30, 2012, 02:59:00 pm
I agree.  It sounds like she is getting "attention" by playing the whoa is me card with everyone else. 



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


She sounds mentally ill. Normal people can be real jerks, but this is just weird.


Some people just love the drama and playing the victim and the attention that comes with it. I wouldn't hold back if people are saying things to you about keeping the GCs from her. I think that'd make my head explode if someone said that to me. What a terrible situation for you.

Where is your DH in all this? Has he talked to her about it?


DH has talked to her repeatedly for years now. He's at the point where he just avoids his entire family because of the situation with his mother. They have all told him to leave me repeatedly, even going so far as to speak to an attorney when they found out I was pregnant. They wanted to make sure that DH would 'have a case' should he want to leave before I had the baby! She told DH that they would be more than happy to cover any 'relocation expenses' if I would take the baby and leave the state. He is broken hearted about the entire thing. I would have given up long ago, but DH is crushed at the thought of loosing his FOO forever and it really seems that that is where we are now.


lancaster lady

Time for your DH to make choices IMHO . It would be interesting to see inside that case file against you ! For goodness sake , sounds like he belongs to a mafia family . I would relocate , and take DH with you . She sounds like poison.