Author Topic: Visit from my MIL  (Read 1887 times)

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Offline lady T

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Visit from my MIL
« on: January 19, 2014, 09:56:17 AM »
Hello There!

The last time I posted a topic it was about my MIL coming to visit. I wrote about her unspoken need to compete with me on everything from the kids, DH, to the cooking to the house cleaning. Thanks for all of your comments & suggestions. I thought I'd follow up to let you guys know how it went.

Basically my MIL hasn't changed a bit, in fact she's a little worse now. But, the good news is I have changed. I'm at a point in my life where I realize that no matter what my MIL does, says, thinks, or feels I'll always been the queen of my home. I  don't want to come across as arrogant, but I really do believe that my position in my home (and in her DSs life) is bothersome to my MIL.

You have to understand that before I came a long 10 years ago, she had DS all to herself. He wasn't just her son, he was also her provider. When DH's dad died at the age of sixteen, he worked to pay the bills and support his mom. She was a stay-at-home mom. But, for the past eight years that we've been married, I don't think my MIL has been willing/able to accept that she doesn't come first anymore.

My MIL is a very special lady. After all, she raised a terrific son and she is an excellent GM. But she seems very insecure about herself. She still wants to compete with me over such dumb things. At one point, when she saw that I was about to do DH's laundry,  she actually raced me to do it first. That might sound hard to believe but its the absolute truth. I kept in mind what someone suggested in my previous post... Something about how there can't be a competition if only one person is participating... So, I just let her do it, with smile.  There were several other instances similar to that, I just ignored her. I really don't want to engage with her when she gets like this. It seems so ridiculous.

For the first time sense I've know my MIL, something Else happened during this visit... I actually, began to feel sorry for her. I hope this doesn't sound mean, but frankly, I find her a bit pathetic. There are certain things that she does that appear to be desperate attempts for attention. Its as if shes trying to find ways to stay relevant in her DSs life... It was kind of hard to watch. The sad part is, DH is getting annoyed with her too. She's become a clinger. Its like the more annoyed he gets with her, the more she clings... After MIL left I asked DH if he missed is mom (I asked him this bc I sensed that he was being a bit stand offish toward her) he told me that altough he loves his DM he doesn't miss her. He said that he's tired of her treating him like a baby. My DH is 35 and MIL still pinches his checks when she greats him. During dinner I saw her takes food off her plate and slide it onto his. I saw DH push his plate away after she did that. I told him he should talk to her, he told me he did and she only got defensive.

I saw some old pictures of her when she was younger and she was stunning (think a young Elizabeth Taylor). I don't know how she went from that to the clingy person she is today. One thing this has taught me, is how I DON'T want to be when I'm older. I already told my DH if I turn out that way when our kids are older he has the right to slap me.

Offline Stilllearning

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Re: Visit from my MIL
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2014, 06:32:35 AM »
Yipee LadyT!!  It is amazing how much a little shift in attitude can change a relationship!  Congratulations on taking your power back by not letting your MIL push your buttons. 

It does sound like your MIL has fallen into the trap into which many people fall.  I was there once with my husband and it almost ended our marriage.  The funny part is that this is also a competition.  Your MIL pushes and your DH pulls away.  She puts food on his plate and he won't eat it.  She feels rejected so she tries harder, he feels babied so he shuts her down.  If you can find a way to get your DH or your MIL to stop everyone's life would improve.  So here are a few suggestions to consider......if you and your DH can stomach them:

Ask her to cook a favorite meal of your DH's so he can brag about it
Get your DH to brag about how she did/does something (talk to him in advance so he knows you will not be hurt)
Ask her for advice about anything and encourage your DH to do the same, advice can be taken or not
Get your DH to call her more often.  If necessary you can set a timer and call him away for some minor emergency after say 5 min.
Get your DH to tell her what a good mother she is/was
Complement her on anything you can find.....including what a wonderful man she raised and how lucky you feel that he chose you

I would take a slow pace on implementing this because if you change suddenly she will know that she is getting played.  Remember that she actually did raise the love of your life and she deserves your appreciation for that.

Good luck and great job!!!

ps....I use all of these tactics and I love my MIL and she says I am her other daughter!  I promise it works for me.
Your mind is a garden your thoughts are the seeds
You can grow flowers or you can grow weeds.
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Offline Pooh

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Re: Visit from my MIL
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2014, 06:21:27 AM »
That's great LadyT!  Changing our own attitudes is usually all we can do with someone like her.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell

Offline Pen

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Re: Visit from my MIL
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2014, 06:47:16 PM »
My grandmother (dad's mom) was very needy, too. She made my mom's life miserable, even though my mom went out of her way to be kind and thoughtful. Dad and mom set boundaries and had to enforce them at least once that I remember - calling a taxi to take GM to the train station when she was being particularly horrid during a visit. Sometimes enough is enough. She was never invited back. She lived another 40 years after that incident, 40 long years of being more or less cut off from her only son and his family.

I saw first hand the damage done by a needy, hovering, mean MIL and vowed to never behave that way. I'm pretty sure I may have gone too far the other way, keeping my distance & keeping quiet when maybe I should have spoken up or shown a bit more interest in DS & DIL.

LadyT, I hope your MIL appreciates your efforts! Good job :)

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

Offline Stilllearning

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Re: Visit from my MIL
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2014, 08:14:14 PM »
Oh Pen...how sad!  Please tell me that in spite of your GM never being invited back there was still some communication.  How horrible to think that there was never any chance of making things better.  That is the thing I hate most about people saying they are done and closing off all ties.  To err is human........
Your mind is a garden your thoughts are the seeds
You can grow flowers or you can grow weeds.
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Offline Pooh

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Re: Visit from my MIL
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2014, 05:44:08 AM »
SL, sometimes it is the only option you have left in order to protect your own sanity, dignity and to be able to move on with your life.  To err is human, but to continue to err in the same ways to make others miserable is choice.

I just want to make sure you understand that we have those here that have had to make that decision after months and sometimes years of pain and suffering in order to live their life.  It's ok that you personally wouldn't make that decision, but it's also ok for those that have had to.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell

Offline Pen

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Re: Visit from my MIL
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2014, 09:48:02 AM »
How true, Pooh. Each situation and family dynamic is different.

SL, after my mom & dad divorced and my dad remarried, he & my stepmother would visit my GM (his mom) a couple of times a year. As an adult (my mom had passed away by then) I made the decision to take my young children to visit their GGM. She was always a bit confused as to who I was; apparently she'd erased all memory of my mom and us kids and kept calling me by my stepsister's name.

I can rest easy knowing I did the right thing even if she couldn't.
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb