Author Topic: MIL Driving Me Batty!  (Read 2345 times)

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Offline lisalisa

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MIL Driving Me Batty!
« on: January 14, 2015, 12:05:54 PM »
Hi Everyone!

First I'd like to mention that I'm not having "major family" issues... I have a relatively happy family, my issue are more minor compared to some. However, there are something's that my MIL does (however petty) that make it difficult for me to even want to be around her.

A little background:
I've been married for 10 yrs, together for 12. DH and I have four kids (7, 6, 3, 21months). He is from Peru, his DM only speaks Spanish. We are both in our 30's, MIL in her 70's.

Here's the problem:
I've noticed that whenever MIL visits she takes little "digs" at me. What I mean by that, is she makes comments that might seem innocent, but seem to have an underlying insult. It makes me very upset and uncomfortable... I believe she does it bc she resents me. Before I married DH, she would visit with him for two months. She continued this after we married, until I realized that I wasn't comfortable with a visit that lasted that long. DH and MIL agreed that she only needed to visit for two weeks (I would have actually settled for a month) but he told me he really didn't need his mom visiting for two months either.

The snide comments she has made are as follows:
1. When we married she told DH & I to only have two kids, bc the third kid never gets much attention form the parents... She KNOWS that I am the third child in my family.

2. After I got dressed to go to the movies with my husband, I came in the living room, and she said. "OH, when are you going to get dressed to go to the movies"?

3. DH and I jokingly discussed having another baby. She chimed in "Oh please God no"! Mind you, we are both grown, own our own homes outright, and are excellent parents. We are also physically, mentally, and financially stable. Not sure why she would say that.

4. When I talked about going out for an afternoon of 'me time', she said "are you going to go get your hair done?". No sure where that came from, I thought my hair was fine.

5. I gained a lot of weight with my last child, but recently lost it. She's seen me several times since then, but yesterday when she saw me, she said " you look good now" with an emphasis on the word NOW.

Again, I now these things seem minor but I really don't like it. Knowing what I know about my MIL she's being insulting/condescending. I usually smile it off (I'm really not good with confrontation) but I'm feed up. DH is too. He didn't want to address it at first, bc its his mom. But he really is getting fed up too. Its to the point where he told me if she weren't his mom, he wouldn't even be around her.

Another thing, that annoys me. Is the feeling that whenever we're together she's always trying to one up me. I feel like she turns everything from the cooking, cleaning, and kids into a competition. I handle it by walking away or smiling, but I really is irritating. Its as if what she's really trying to tell me is that she hates the position I hold in my home and wants to prove that she's better.

I mentioned earlier that we are from different cultures, bc I realize that it is possible that *some of our differences may be cultural. Also, my Spanish is not that good so we have language barriers and need DH to translate.

I'd really hate to have to shorten her visits less than two weeks. I want my kids to see her, as well as DH. But, I don't like the way she treats me. What should I do?

Offline Pooh

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Re: MIL Driving Me Batty!
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2015, 12:42:23 PM »
Welcome L.  When you get a moment, take the time to read the posts under "Open Me First".  Nothing wrong with your post, we ask all new members to do this so they are familiar with the forum rules.

First, I actually think you are doing very well handling this.  Brushing it off and walking away smiling is the best way to handle it.  That being said, I'm not excusing her behavior at all.  As much as you are handling it well, that still doesn't mean she should be allowed to do it.  I do applaud you for exploring that maybe it is a cultural difference.  Again, not excusing what she is doing.

I do think many problems are because it ends up being the MIL and DIL that end up having words.  I've said it before and I'll say it again.  If my Mother was being mean to my DH, it would be me that would pull her aside and tell her to knock it off.  Not my DH.  It is my Mother and it should come from me.  I have never understood why a DH can not give the same courtesy to his wife.  I was in your position for 21 years with a DH that would always agree and complain that his Mother treated me horribly, but not once did he ever say anything to her.  It left me, after several years, resentful of them both and led to an eventual outburst from me to her when I couldn't take it any longer.  It could have been avoided had my DH stepped up and not tolerated it on my behalf.  Even if she continued, at least we would have been a combined force to set the boundaries.

I say that to say I truly believe your DH needs to talk to her.  Not only will it be easier because of the language, but he should let her know that HE doesn't appreciate it.  Not you...but him.  I think sometimes DH's that do say something end up making it worse, because they put it off on their wives. "Mom, you hurt her feelings when you say those little things.  It makes her upset.  She's getting to the point where she doesn't want to visit."  Instead it should be, "Mom, it upsets me to hear you speak to my wife that way and I want you to stop.  If you don't stop, then I'm going to put my foot down about you coming to visit."

I really wish more DH's would do this.  I think it would help many of the MIL/DIL situations.

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

Offline Stilllearning

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Re: MIL Driving Me Batty!
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2015, 05:27:58 PM »
Hi L!  I have to agree with Pooh, in a perfect world your DH should probably correct the situation.  However in reality you could probably stop most of it by bringing your DH into the discussion.  "I don't know,sweetie do I look ready to go to the movies?"  "Well DH sure wants another child!!"  "DH said that I should go out and enjoy myself, didn't you Sweetie?"   "Your son has never complained about my looks, have you sweetie?"  I used sweetie but you can insert what ever term of endearment you normally use.  I think it will drive the point home without ripping the fabric of the family.


Good luck!!
Your mind is a garden your thoughts are the seeds
You can grow flowers or you can grow weeds.
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Offline luise.volta

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Re: MIL Driving Me Batty!
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2015, 07:22:38 PM »
I can't come up with much because right now I am mad at her after reading your post. Why should you be insulted and put down in your own home? Two weeks is a long time in that kind of situation. She is your guest but seems to come to judge and criticize. Right now I'm for turning the tables and visiting her...staying in a hotel and simply leaving every time she sticks a knife in your heart. It seems to me that you are condoning her behavior by accepting it when it isn't acceptable. You are respecting that she is your husband's mother and the grandmother of your children. Respect is either two-sided or useless.
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama

Offline Pen

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Re: MIL Driving Me Batty!
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2015, 09:46:43 PM »
Have you ever tried just laughing and leaving the room when she makes those comments? "Oh MIL, you're hilarious." "Oh MIL, that is funny." "MIL, you are so cute when you joke like that!" Just a thought. That's how I handle my SM when she starts in.

When she visits does she get time alone with your DH? Perhaps she resents the change in her relationship with him and is taking it out on you. Just a thought.

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

Offline lisalisa

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Re: MIL Driving Me Batty!
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2015, 05:09:11 PM »
Thanks everyone for your comments!!!!

To answer a couple of questions:

1. I would love it if we could visit her and stay in a hotel, but I'm afraid its not possible at the moment. The cost of travel to Peru for a family of six is too expensive (1500 per person). And that wouldn't even include the hotel, food, and transportation. Plus, my kids are still very young. I'd like to wait until my youngest is at least six before I travel abroad with him. But, If she lived here in the states I would definitely do it that way.

2. I have tried smiling, laughing, and leaving the room when she makes these comments. I thought that if she saw that I wasn't letting her remarks bother me, then she would stop. Unfortunately, I think my strategy had the opposite effect. She just keeps doing it. Perhaps she has mistaking my kindness for weakness...

3. DH spends lots of quality time with his mom when she visits, as well he should.  I'm one of those ppl who believes that just bc you marry doesn't mean you should forget about your FOO. I certainly would want my kids to do that to me. It's important for him to keep a great relationship with them. I have a great relationship with mine. Also, as you can imagine, I don't really like being around her, so any chance I get to leave them alone together, I take it!


I think the problem is he's just not AS close with her as he was when he was single. He loves her, but I've noticed that he doesn't seem as attached to her as he was when we first met. He doesn't seem excited with she comes to visit. He doesn't seem that eager to take her out and do things with her anymore... I'm not sure if its bc he's married with kids now, or if its just a part of getting older... It is possible that she resents me for that though. I also think its possible that she resents the fact she doesn't visit with him as long as before he married me.


At any rate, my husband is upset about it (not just me anymore). He told me he would talk to her so, I hope it all goes well. But, in the event that she continues to do it, he told me in advance that he'll respect whatever decision I make about having her over. I'm praying for the best.



Offline luise.volta

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Re: MIL Driving Me Batty!
« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2015, 05:43:33 PM »
So are, so good. Sending hugs...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama

Offline Stilllearning

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Re: MIL Driving Me Batty!
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2015, 05:55:40 PM »
I noticed that my DH was and is not a close to his FOO as I am to mine.  This has been a longstanding issue (36 years so far) and although I am very close to my MIL (I call her Mom2) I was completely taken aback when my DS and his wife decided that our branch of the family was extraneous.  I guess I should have seen it coming because of how my DH treated his FOO for all those years.  I just never even imagined that my DS would ever walk away from all the cousins, Aunts and Uncles that he had grown to love all those years!  We had a family reunion for a week every year!  I even invited my DH's family but they never came.  I tried to set another one up with my DH's FOO and my MIL said it would not work.

Anyway the point is that regardless of whether you have daughters or sons you may be sending out a karma that might come back to haunt you if you cut your MIL's visits too short.  After all, you will hopefully be a MIL one day and you are teaching your children about how they should treat you when that day comes.  I should have been really adamant that my DH treat his mother better.  Now I am paying the price.
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: MIL Driving Me Batty!
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2015, 12:43:46 PM »
I'm not sure if its bc he's married with kids now, or if its just a part of getting older.

My personal opinion is that it's probably a mix of both.  I think maturity and growth as an individual leads them to not feel the need to rely on their Mothers as much anymore.  And this always sounds weird when I say it, but I do think Mothers get replaced with wives.   And that's not meant in a bad way.  It's meant in a way that the Wife becomes the woman in his life where the Mother may have been before.  It may have been Mom that he used to confide in, talk to and communicate with.  Now it's the wife that is his confidante.  I don't think that is a bad thing and I think that's how it should be.  The Wife should become the number one female in his life.  I think for many Moms, that's hard to accept.    I think for many Sons, they forget that they call transfer that loyalty to their wife, but still make their Moms feel included.   I can say with all honestly, I expected my Sons Wives to become their number one priority.  I expected that they would now share their hopes, dreams, etc. with them instead of me.  I accepted that was how it should be and that hopefully, our relationship would evolve to friends instead of Mom and Son. 

I didn't expect to be completely erased from his life as if now that he had her, there was no use for me whatsoever.  Maybe that is her fear?  Again, not excusing her behavior as she shouldn't be treating you badly period.  People do all kinds of stupid stuff out of fear.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell

Offline lisalisa

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Re: MIL Driving Me Batty!
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2015, 06:31:29 PM »
Thanks Pooh & Pen for sharing you stories.

You know what? Although I feel badly for you both, your comments make me realize that my problem isn't so bad after all... I can't imagine being estranged from my own children  :'( . I really hope that with time, you will heal. Or better yet, I hope your DS will turn themselves around and give you the honor that you deserve.

I agree with you about karma. I believe in the law of "what goes around comes around". I sincerely hope that MIL and I can work things out. Its not that I need her in my life, but DH and DC do. I had a very close relationship with my GM and want my kids to have the same thing. And even if I hated my MIL, I still think DH should maintain a relationship with her. That's his mom after all.

I also agree with your opinion on relationships with Mothers as we get older & marry. As a kid, I thought of my mom as the perfect angel. To this day, she is still the most important woman in my life. I don't think that will ever change. But, I could she how it would change for sons.

My MIL appears to be having a VERY difficult time excepting that the roles have changed, I'm trying to be as understanding as possible. Its not easy for me either. I've never dealt with a person like my MIL before... I will never refuse her the right to she her DS and GC, but I might have to keep her at arms length if she refuses to improve how she conducts herself. There are just some people in life you have to keep at a distance, even (sadly) if their family.

Offline Pen

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Re: MIL Driving Me Batty!
« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2015, 11:14:26 PM »
LL, thank you for sharing your story too. It helps those of us with married sons be better MILs. That's why I love this site so much. It's about understanding and compassion instead of bashing one side or the other. Your MIL (and your DH) are lucky to have you. And you're right - it could be waaayy worse, lol!

My dad's mom never accepted his marriage to my mother. My mom tried so hard (I have the old letters to prove it) to include her in our family life although GM lived in a different part of the state. But, my GM was a real piece of work (snide comments, outright rudeness, lies, etc.) She was not the MIL role model I wished to emulate. Now I see that she was probably terrified that she would grow old alone and forgotten. Unfortunately her behavior created that very reality for her.





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

Offline NewMama

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Re: MIL Driving Me Batty!
« Reply #11 on: January 17, 2015, 04:27:00 PM »
Sometimes all you can do for your sanity is just detach a little bit and keep some distance. After our older son was born, I began to have a lot of issues with my MIL. And it was similar to yours - snarky comments and digs all over the place. Hindsight being 20/20, I now realize she had it in her head as far back as my pregnancy that we were going to exclude her. She did that to her own MIL I found out later on. We had no intention of excluding her, and I though we had a good relationship until one day it appeared to just blow up.

The whole experience to me is a big example of what you fear, you create. She pushed back and pressured us immensely when things weren't going the way she wanted. She became hyper critical of me, and I just went running for the hills. I left maintaining our relationship with her to DH, because I was very tired of going out of my way to include her and getting picked at, criticized, and guilt tripped because no matter what I did it wasn't enough.

I think there's a balance between showing the example of including both FOOs with children, but at the same time not giving the example of being treated like a doormat just because someone is family.   

Offline confusedbyinlaws

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Re: MIL Driving Me Batty!
« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2015, 08:05:11 AM »
Your MIL sounds a little like mine.  Mine is very sweet on the surface but said so many very critical and insulting and often very indirect things, to me alternating with over the top complimenting.  I didn't know how to handle her and wished my husband would.  Very much like Pooh, after almost thirty years I blew up and filled so much with resentment that I want nothing to do with my inlaws.  I tried addressing the issues once many years ago but my words apparently fell on deaf ears.  I agree with Pooh that your husband should talk to her and let her know that this is not ok with him.  I never felt like I should put my husband in the middle since the conflict was between me and them, but now I realize that they didn't have enough respect for me to listen to me and they would listen to my husband.  I feel like it's too late for my relationship with my MIL, but hopefully not for you.  I tried letting the comments roll off my back but was only able to do this on the outside, not internally.  Internally, the resentment just built until it became intolerable. 
I wanted to include my inlaws in our lives for my husband and our kids and to their credit they were wonderful grandparents in many ways, so I don't regret that.  But now that our kids are grown and my inlaws live across the country I don't need to accompany my husband or kids when they visit and don't want to.  I don't feel good about it though.  I feel like I am the mean and hateful one now, who wants nothing to do with them.  That's what happens when you don't take care of yourself and allow people to treat you in ways you don't want to be treated.