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My MIL very passive aggressive and has made it clear that I’m no good for her son, we have had to set boundaries in the past and following the birth of our son last year my husband and I sat down to talk through her behaviour. She would turn up an announced and comment on my untidy home (baby was 3 weeks old) she also turned up at the hospital uninvited and has found it difficult to accept her son is not a little boy anymore (I could list so many things). We felt we had dealt with a lot of the issues and we keeping our distance, calmly explaining what we expected, and, although I know she will never accept me I have tried hard not to take it personally and be polite.

 

However the behaviour has started up again in even more convert ways and I’m finding it hard to know where to go from here.

 

I said I don’t agree that my 11 month old should have chocolate because I want to encourage a healthy lifestyle, so she got him shortbread (just as fattening) and then said ‘see no chocolate’….. its not about me making silly rules it’s about her not respecting them….. even if I said my children can only brush their teeth upside down she should respect my role as a mother and follow it through, even if she doesn’t agree with the decisions I make…

 

She often spends thousands of pounds at Christmas (although I only got a kitchen roll dispenser and lip balm last year) She bought my daughter tons and tons of toys (deliberately ones she knows I don’t approve of) then complained that my daughter was ungrateful because she got bored of opening so many presents….

So this year we decided with a baby too, we would set some ground rules. We explained to the MIL that while it was lovely that she wanted to spoil the children we don’t feel it nessercerry to get so much stuff and overwhelm them, especially as we aren’t planning on spending a lot ourselves. We said perhaps she could stick to a few clothes and books…

 

We recently found out (she texts my Husband) that she has spent loads of outfits for the children (at least 10 each) she keeps asking ‘wont they be upset about not having toys, are you getting toys? What are you buying them’ it’s all a passive aggressive way of telling us that she resents the limits being placed on her.

 

Now my children will have a million books and clothes so it will look odd that they have no toys….. we have got them about 6 presents each and I feel so put out. I feel it’s a deliberate attempt to make me look stupid. If my husband and I talk to her and say its unacceptable she will be able to say ‘well you said just get clothes’

 

I know if I react I look sensitive and silly but its clearly her way of undermining my decisions…….

 

I had just got used to ignoring the snide comments and was able to let them wash over me. now that she has learnt that blatant rebellion doesn’t get a reaction she has changed tack and its like I need to rewire and harden myself again.

 

If we confront her she will automatically slip into the victim role and this leaves my husband feeling guilty, its tough for him being stuck in the middle and its difficult for our marriage. I'm angry at her for changing the rules again when I had just learnt not to let her affect me….. I have tried so hard to keep my feelings to myself and they have come spilling out again, I expect that is her intended goal.

 

I sometimes wish my other half (who will always stick up for me regardless) would just acknowledge these things….. if he said to me ‘I know what's she's doing’ then I could cope better, instead I spend my time trying to convince him of her motives….. naturally he would rather believe its unintentional or that she misunderstands the requests. I feel like a terrible wife for putting him in this position.

 

Im sorry this is such a long thread

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Melody, I am just wondering...have you ever just spent one-on-one time with her and come to know her as a person? Do you really know her life? I would suggest that you go to lunch together and just talk...learn what her life was like growning up and how did she meet her husband and things like that. Nothing about your children. Make it all about her. I think that you might be surprised. ...chi

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When your monster in law shows up at your house with tons of presents, what you do is choose 2-3 of them for each child and take the rest and put them away. Tell the children that some kids at Christmas do not get any toys because their parents can't afford it, but they would be so grateful and happy with the extra toys they got from grandma, so they can choose which toys they'd like to give to make other children as happy as them. Then box them up and take them to the charity or hospital on Christmas day and allow your children to be a part of it. It will teach them a valuable lesson about sharing. They will be happy that other children can be as happy as they are, the children will be happy and it will put a muzzle on your MIL.

 

Call around in advance and find out who takes toy/gift donations on Christmas day, if that's the day your monster in law shows up with the goods; if she shows up earlier, even better for those who will receive them.

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Chi is giving good advice that instead of trying to fight her, you should try to befriend her and let her feel important and a part of things. If you are willing to understand her, she might become more open to understanding you. By the way, I doubt there is a mother out there who has ever thought that any woman is good enough for her little boy.

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MY MIL is ca-ca-ca-crazy! Having your husband on your side makes a huge difference. Mine is on mine, so we've blocked her out of our lives for the past year and more, and now with her therapy, she is only allowed to make one call a day to him, and he can choose to answer at that time or not, but at least respond within 24 hours. In the past two years though, she has threatened my life, calling our son a bastard, harassed my staff, called his partners to bad-mouth him, bad mouthed him and me to all relatives and friends with lies, and we've had to call the cops on her three times for trespassing, all the while with 4000 word emails, 1000 word texts, hand-written nasty letters.

 

My whole point - you know how I got my hubby on board right away - kill her with kindness, no matter what, and when she says something nasty, repeat it clearly to reiterate what she's saying. Then say, "sure." And let it roll off your back. Make sure you stick to the facts (no feelings) about what she said when you share it with your husband.

 

Just you out there trying to get through this isn't gonna work. This is the fact that she has targeted you, and that her son found someone who loves him, and it wasn't her. If possible, build an incredible relationship with the other grandparents (your parents) as much as possible, and fill up the dates with them instead. And let them know what the situation is with that woman.

 

With regards to the sugar, and the gifts - to be honest, it's better to get presents, then to not get anything, even if you don't like them. It's for the kids, and the kids should always benefit. So your animosity you are placing on the gifts is a bit silly. You could suggest savings bonds instead. I have an 20 month old, and you could always say, buy for older months, like 18 to 24, and 2T. With the dessert foods, you can limit, with saying, half a cookie. Or bring your own snacks to give to them if you are visiting. And let the grandma give the snacks you brought. I mean, I wanted to yell at my mom and dad when they gave my kid ice cream at 9 months, but a shared spoonful is their way of showing their love for him. If you can retrain how you think regardless of the nastiness she gives you, that her actions are really cuz she loves her grandkid, and it's not a way to spite you. Take a deep breath when she does something annoying. If it's hurtful, call her on it. And if there's any way you can see it as a show of love, smile, and be open to it.

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Thank you all so much for taking the time to reply to this!

 

great to hear how you got your hubby on side tattoobunnie, and I think you're all right about showing kindness.

 

When I first met my MIL I went all out with compliments and trying to impress her, I made an effort to get to know her (unfortunately she is a snob without class and only talks about celebrities and reality tv, she has no hobbies other than cleaning and I have a First class degree and messy house- we're like chalk and cheese). I feel I was shut down for my openness and don't want to put myself out there to get hurt again, she would return my presents saying I wont use this.... and refuse to eat food I prepared. she would criticise me to my husband and smile to my face, I don't think she will change...

 

The thought of going for coffee terrifies me.... I tried so hard to get her to accept me and to show an interest but nothing I did was right. She would tell my husband he had let himself go despite him losing weight after moving in with me and she asked him 'what does she do all day' (at the time, I was working 2 jobs, doing a degree and raising two children) she was mad that my husband had to do housework.....

 

I can see how being nice would help though, all this built up resentment isn't good for anyone and I know even though I have written all this rubbish that I need to let it go. She is a very closed woman and wont discuss anything beyond the day to day with me..... I once asked about how she managed with a little one and was able to keep a lovely home, her reply was that she put him in a high chair with a book.... one sentence and that was the end of it! any ideas for convosation starters??

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