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MIL having trouble letting go -- long HELP!

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Re: MIL having trouble letting go -- long HELP!

  • I have a MIL who is like this but not on this scale.

    Unwanted gifts:  Be gracious, say thank you and if you really don't like it (not just because she picked it out), donate it, re-gift it, return it or put it in your basement.  I am now at the point in my relationship with my MIL that I can tell her, "it's really not our style, we won't use it, but thank you very much for thinking of us".  I also made sure a long time ago that my husband was on board with this.  If WE don't like something then we tell her or we don't use it.

    Unannounced visits:  Ask for them to call BEFORE they leave home if they are interested in coming over.  Let them know what the consequences of not calling are:  won't be welcome in the house, no place to stay, you won't be home...  YYour first mistake was letting her know you were having friends over.  I am going to guess that you will not ever do that again.

    Wedding:  Is is really going to ruin your wedding if she serves cookies?  I agree that as an appetizer is a mistake but, you are paying, you get to decide the timing of things.  But, don't get worked up about this.  When she makes suggestions, say"Thanks for the input" or "We haven't discussed that" or "We aren't prepared to make a decision on that right now".  All of these things will get you out of the conversation without being rude.

    I agree with some of the PP.  Your FI needs to nip this in the bud...NOW!  If he doesn't, I would seriously reconsider the engagement.  Do you really want to spend your life not being the most important woman in your husband's life?  I doubt it. 

    Good luck!

    Cricket's Cadence
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  • My biggger concern -- and it should be yours -- why do you want to marry somebody who is a pushover and spineless? Prepare to take a back seat to her for the rest of your life; your H to be is giving you a preview of your lives together, thanks to his non proactiveness. 

    I wouldn't call him spineless.  He sent her home from our house last weekend and has had talks with her (albeit not in my presence) about her leaving my cooking and shopping habbits alone, and has also told her not to buy things.  I must say it isn't his fault if she doesn't listen.  However you are correct in that there needs to be an ultimatum. 

    I never take a back seat to his mother.  We just don't want to alienate his family.  I grew up in a family where we didn't have any contact with my dad's family.  It was sad and bad for my father and I won't watch him alienate his family. I just want us to have a good working relationship where the lines of communication and boundaries are clearly stated. 

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  • image Carrie3102:

    I wouldn't call him spineless.  He sent her home from our house last weekend and has had talks with her (albeit not in my presence) about her leaving my cooking and shopping habbits alone, and has also told her not to buy things.  I must say it isn't his fault if she doesn't listen.  However you are correct in that there needs to be an ultimatum. 

    YES IT IS.  It is his fault.  Because he is all talk and no action.  he stood up to her ONCE in all of this.  And rather half-heartedly at that.  We train people how to treat us.

    When you're in the grocery store and year a parent say "Beauford, if you need to stop or you'll have X consequence.  Stop or X.  Stop or X.  Stop or X" to the point of stupidity, it is the fault of the parent that this threat means nothing.  Because the kid hears 'blah blah blah, no consequences because I don't have the spine to enforce this'.

    Your DH has trained  his mother that his words mean NOTHING.  She can come in and be obnoxious and push him around all she wants and the *worst* that will happen is a "hey, knock it off".  There are no teeth.  There are no consequences.  From EITHER of you

    image Carrie3102:

    I never take a back seat to his mother.

    You just showed us that, over and overa again, you do.  Having her disrespect you while he does nothing (see above re: doing nothing) is taking a back seat to them.

    image Carrie3102:
     

    We just don't want to alienate his family.  I grew up in a family where we didn't have any contact with my dad's family.  It was sad and bad for my father and I won't watch him alienate his family. I just want us to have a good working relationship where the lines of communication and boundaries are clearly stated. 

    There are worse things than ailienating family...like not creating boundries and being doormats for family.

  • image Carrie3102:

    Yes DHTB will definately keep sticking up for me.  Just as I would for him. 

    You better make sure of this BEFORE he becomes DH.  Otherwise you have accepted the relationship as is and you lose all right to complain about it ever again.

  • I'll agree that something has to be done.  But as I said before we didn't use to have this problem for the first 2 years we lived together.  It has only been since we got engaged (6 months ago) bought the house (3 months ago).  We never expected this out of her, she hates that her sister does it to her son, so we never thought we'd see it out of her.  That is why I am here I wanted to know how we should handle what is a delicate situation.  I wanted to take her out to lunch thank her for everything and politely ask her to back off a bit, call before she comes over etc.  I am hearing from most everyone that he needs to do it.  We both know it is a problem, it is just such a new problem that we were shocked and that's why we haven't said much.  So I am gathering ideas, and will talk it over with him.  Maybe it would be better if we both sat down with her.  No matter what she's going to go home and say bad things about me to the rest of his family about how terrible i am etc.  I came to terms with that though when I decided to say something.  I have a very strong personality and will, and when I get my mind set on something, then I make it happen.  I just wanted to be diplomatic about it. 
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  • First you both don't need to sit down and discuss it with her.  This sit down talk needs to be between your FI and his mother.  If in the moment she says something you can defend yourself if he is unwilling to do it, but this discussion needs to come from him.  She is going to forgive him 100 times before she forgives you once.  He also knows how to work his mother.  Let him prove himself to you and handle this.

    Second you need to keep your strong personality in check when it comes to your FI and his mother.  Avoid confrontation with her.  Be polite and keep interactions superficial.  Again if she is rude to you, you can defend yourself.  Don't start it and don't stir it. 

  • Great news, just talked to FI... he said, he is 100% in agreement with me, and he has already alluded to it with his mother.  He invited her out to lunch on Friday and told me that it WILL NOT happen again. 

    I am so proud of him.  I knew he would do it, he saw how upset I was, and I saw how upset he was.  It ruined our evening.  He even said he's going to tell her no on the cookies (the whole reason we hired a caterer was to avoid making work for any of our family), and that she isn't to belittle me in my home, or anywhere for that matter (that all came from him not me suggesting it).  He is amazing, and not spineless, we just needed to make a decision on how to deal with it.  We also decided that what you guys said was right, if they show up unannounced they will be turned away.  If she belittles me in my home, I will defend myself.  Other than that it should be smooth sailing!

    Thank you all for your help.  It is helpful to see that we shouldn't have to feel guilty about setting boundries. 

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  • image casmgn:
    image Carrie3102:

    When she asked him about the paint he said, mom its kind of a done deal, that's what she wants, she did it, but it just grated my nerves. 

    As far as continuing to bring stuff he tells her all the time, she just doesn't care, she wants to buy us off. 

    For the paint - the correct response would have been "Mom, those are the colors we picked out. Why are you questioning Carrie on this?" His response made it sound like he was just going along with you wanted and that he didn't really want those colors.

    Okay -- I've been watching this thread all day, and until now I didn't have anything to add.

    OP, you have portrayed your H as a staunch ally in all this, standing up for you against his mom, etc., but I think cas earlier and GBCK more recently in the thread correctly pegged that your H is not doing all he should be and you are giving him a huge "get out of jail free card" in all this.

    My evidence is the above quote about the paint selection.

    DO YOU GET IT, OP, that by saying "well, mom that's what SHE wants" your FI is completely throwing you under the bus?  That's secret adult-son code for "Well, Mommy, you know I agree with you about the paint, but what is poor little ol' me to do?  I had to agree to get that ugly paint because that's what Carrie wanted! But of course, I agree with your opinion, Mommy, about what would be the best color of paint for our house, because you're my Mommy and I could never disagree with you!!!"

    The way he should have responded to her outrageous comment was exactly as casmgn wrote above.  He should have said, "Mom, WE picked out this paint because WE like it.  Both of us.  Me and her.  It's our decision, not yours."  By saying it's what you picked, he telegraphed to her that he actually agrees with her, not you!! 

    Maybe this wasn't your FI's intention.  If his intention really was to strongly support you, then he just needs a lesson in semantics.  But I'm betting he is intentionally walking that fine line between supporting you and not ticking off Mommy.  That's NOT the same as being supportive of you!

    EDIT:  I just read your reply right above mine.  This is a good start.  However, I hope the wording he used with his mom really was as strong as he portrayed.  Watch this type of thing carefully.  I still get a strong vibe of him wanting to walk a fine line in your posts.

  • To be a little cleaerer on the paint thing.  It was where the paint was supposed to go... i wanted an accent wall, he wanted to do two other walls, i won out because well i put my foot down about it.  That is why she asked him, and it was a sore spot for him, however he told her to do what I want. 

    I have been rather lenient with him in all this, because like i said my father was estranged from his mother and father for 15 years until his dad was dying, it has been a horrible thing for my father, he has so much guilt.  I don't want him to go through what my father has. 

    I trust that after our discussions he will do the right thing and put his foot down.  I have told him that if it happens again I will a. ask her to leave (if we didn't lock the door) b. shut the door in her face.  He has agreed to the same.  It was not only uncomfortable for me but for him as well.  I think her 'crashing' our party was a real eye opener for him.  He was embarrassed too and felt like she just disrespected us both.  She said that it wasn't her idea it was the other two ppl she was with (his aunt and thier friend) and he called her BS on that.  She could have said she didn't want to go, but since she didn't she was just as much to blame as them, and was in on the planning.  I am hoping this works. 

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  • image Carrie3102:

    Great news, just talked to FI... he said, he is 100% in agreement with me, and he has already alluded to it with his mother.  He invited her out to lunch on Friday and told me that it WILL NOT happen again. 

    So he's smacking the dog on the nose two weeks after it_shit on the carpet? Yeah, that sure will teach the dog not to_shit on the carpet ever again!

    He needs to confront each and every situation with mommy immediately after they happen. Not two weeks later, not in a letter but as soon as it happens.

    fiizzlee = vag ** fiizzle = peen ** Babies shouldn't be born wit thangs ** **They're called first luddz fo' a reason -- mo' is supposed ta come after. Yo Ass don't git a medal fo' marryin yo' prom date. Unless yo ass is imoan. I aint talkin' bout chicken n' gravy biatch. Then yo ass git a all-expenses paid cruise ta tha Mediterranean n' yo ass git ta hook up Jared Padalecki on tha flight over while bustin yo' jammies. But still no medal.
  • I completly agree with a previous poster in that you train people how to treat you.

    In reading your responses, I see a lot of 'wishy-washy' limp noodle responses. 
    "He kinda told her...."
    "We just want her to back off a bit..."

    He either told her or he didnt...there is no 'kinda'.  (You cant be KINDA pregnant).  You either want her to back off or not.  I think part of the problem is that while the two of you may have given hints or jokingly "aww shucks Mom dont be such a ninny" sort of responses, you werent actually FIRM with her in standing up for yourselves.

    Obviously if you give her an inch, she'll ride a mile all over you and your FI.
    Nip it in the bud now or you're getting a glimpse of what your married life is going to be like.

  • So he's smacking the dog on the nose two weeks after it_shit on the carpet? Yeah, that sure will teach the dog not to_shit on the carpet ever again!

    He needs to confront each and every situation with mommy immediately after they happen. Not two weeks later, not in a letter but as soon as it happens.

    I appreciate your response, but this happend Saturday, he made her leave Saturday (we were not going to cause a scene in front of our guests, period, especially since the friend of his mom who came was the mother of one of the guests.) He works night shift 3:30 pm to 3:30 am.  She works regular hours.  So time for talking serious matters is limited. Friday was the first chance he will have. 

    You are right in saying that we haven't been firm.  We discussed that, and this discussion he is having with her friday (his only day off this week) he will let her know what is and is not acceptable behavior.  We have both been too concerned with hurting her feelings.  We have also decided our sanity is more important and we will fix the problem together.

    I told him the same thing, about this being a picture of what our life will be like after we are married.  He is in agreement that it cannot go on this way.  I am giving him this opportunity Friday to say what needs to be said, and if that doesn't work I am going to step in and say something.  I don't care if she never forgives me.  I'm fed up.  

    I appreciate everyone's responses most of them have been very helpful.  I will update you after the weekend as to what was said and what was accomplished.

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  • image Carrie3102:

    He has tried, she just ignores him.  I have heard him say mom stop bringing things.  I see what you are saying about unnecessary gifts, but she thinks that if she brings something it entitles her to do/say/act however she wants.  She thinks because she's spent money on us she still has power over our decisions in life.  She tried to give me money for my wedding dress.  I told her no because I knew she'd want to control the whole day if I let her help once. 

    Her sister, his aunt has a son in NC she goes down there and spends weeks at a time, in what she calls her 'vacation home'  well I can see my MIL trying to do the same and that is NOT how it is going to be.  I need space.  My parents live 10 minutes away.  I see his mother more than I see my own parents.  She is too controlling. 

    If you really don't think I should say anything to her then I won't, but I just feel like his pleas are falling on deaf ears and I'm afraid of what will happen when we start having children.  Is she going to think it's ok to just drop by unannounced all the time... or will she think she can come and stay for a few weeks at a time... I won't live my life like that.  I want her to be a part of our lives not a central fixture.

    Actions speak louder than words.  She came to your home unannoucned, expecting the run of your bedroom and FI said "no way".  That's ACTION and its awesome.  You think it falls on deaf ears, but if FI is willingot back it up with real-life 'no's' then THAT is the answer to your problem.

    Same for this expectation of control b/c she gives you gifts.  Just say no.  She can EXPECT as much as she wishes, you don't have to fall for it.

    Honestly, you sound like you are handling things well.  Keep it up.  She'll fal into line.  Otherwise she'll get a lot less time with you guys.  Afterall, she can't spend a few weeks at your home unless you allow it.  Doesn't sound likely, so don't sweat it.

    She's not going to like it, but that's boundaries. Ultimately, done well, it makes everyone much more at ease.

    My darling daughter just turned 4 years old.
  • image Carrie3102:

    He has tried, she just ignores him.  I have heard him say mom stop bringing things.  I see what you are saying about unnecessary gifts, but she thinks that if she brings something it entitles her to do/say/act however she wants.  She thinks because she's spent money on us she still has power over our decisions in life.  She tried to give me money for my wedding dress.  I told her no because I knew she'd want to control the whole day if I let her help once. 

    Her sister, his aunt has a son in NC she goes down there and spends weeks at a time, in what she calls her 'vacation home'  well I can see my MIL trying to do the same and that is NOT how it is going to be.  I need space.  My parents live 10 minutes away.  I see his mother more than I see my own parents.  She is too controlling. 

    If you really don't think I should say anything to her then I won't, but I just feel like his pleas are falling on deaf ears and I'm afraid of what will happen when we start having children.  Is she going to think it's ok to just drop by unannounced all the time... or will she think she can come and stay for a few weeks at a time... I won't live my life like that.  I want her to be a part of our lives not a central fixture.

    Actions speak louder than words.  She came to your home unannoucned, expecting the run of your bedroom and FI said "no way".  That's ACTION and its awesome.  You think it falls on deaf ears, but if FI is willingot back it up with real-life 'no's' then THAT is the answer to your problem.

    Same for this expectation of control b/c she gives you gifts.  Just say no.  She can EXPECT as much as she wishes, you don't have to fall for it.

    Honestly, you sound like you are handling things well.  Keep it up.  She'll fal into line.  Otherwise she'll get a lot less time with you guys.  Afterall, she can't spend a few weeks at your home unless you allow it.  Doesn't sound likely, so don't sweat it.

    She's not going to like it, but that's boundaries. Ultimately, done well, it makes everyone much more at ease.

    My darling daughter just turned 4 years old.
  • image Carrie3102:
    Thank you all.  Looks like this weekend he and I need to sit down and make some rules and start enforcing them better.  Neither of us like to upset people.  But I'm no door mat and I can only take so much before it gets ugly.  You have all given GREAT advice.  I appreciate it.  I will talk to my fiance this weekend (he works nights i don't see him until then) and we will get this straightened out.  Boundaries that's all I want strong boundaries! =)  Thank you all!

    And if he isn't proactive enough to the point where his strong advice sticks?

    RETHINK him.

     

  • image Mrs.Handy:

    First, this is your H's problem. You should not be the one confronting her. He should.

    Second, pick your battles. Bringing you unnecessary gifts is not something to get worked up over. Showing up unannounced and expecting to stay in your bed is.

    You and your H need to be on the same page. It's his job to solve this problem because it is his MIL.  

     

    Dang, perfect answer! Best of luck to you OP!

  • image Carrie3102:

    something away and she just drops by there's always a comment made about it.  Like this UGLY vase she bought and put ugly fake flowers in, I took it down and when she dropped by she asked where's that vase I bought you?  what am I supposed to say to that?  

     

    um,, do ya'll have pets? Or a clumsy friend? *hint hint*

    Darn Mom, it got broke!

    Or just flat to the point.... Mom, we appreciate the thought, but the vase just did not work with the decor we have in mind! 

  • The pushover and spineless comment actually gets me mad and saying you should rethink your choice of fiance.  I understand the comment but it is pretty harsh. 

    My husband and I had a lot of issues with his family during our engagment.  Basically it was a control thing. We talked to his family a number of times. His mom did not get it until the 4th time. It might just take some time. I had the same concerns as you.

    Turns out our wedding day was the best day. Just ignore them and yes you can do it. I barely saw/talked to his family that day. Husband now is the best when it comes to his family. He does not care about what they think when it comes to us and we are one team. It will get better trust me! 

  • llanced08 Thank you.  I'm glad i'm not the only one who chooses not to call my fiance spineless because we want to go about things the right way and not get all snarky.  I  have found that some people here think they are awfully perfect and have no problem telling other people to re-think their life.  To those of you who said my fiance was spineless, and that I should re-think marrying him, get off your high horse.  I wasn't asking for advice on my love life, just advice on his mother.  But thanks for helping me see what a wonderful, loving, selfless man I do have. 

    My fiance is NOT spineless, we were both in shock and didn't know what to say we didn't want to cause a scene in front of our guests etc.  This was the first and will be the ONLY time she shows up to our house unannounced.  I was just asking whether I should say something to her about her trying to control us, or if he should.  Unbeknownst to me he had already done so, and even though I was still peeved the problem had been solved. 

    I feel as though some of you are quick to call names and jump to conclusions when multiple times I explained that we a. didn't let them stay over, b. told the negative ones if they didn't like it leave etc.  I was just trying to get some advice on how to deal with it going forward, and how to prevent it from happening again.  It is NOT just an H problem.  We are a team and it was OUR problem.  He took care of it, and we no longer have to worry about it. 

    In the future I will remember to go to him rather than come here and get negative advice.

    I did however get a lot of GOOD advice and I want those who were positive and trying to help, without calling my fiance names or telling me I should rethink my choice in men, to know i thank them.  You were right it worked out, and we no longer have an issue.  He was firm and asked her to call before she comes over to make sure it is a good time for them to visit.  If she shows up we decided together that sorry, we are busy, and you can't stay.  As far as unwanted gifts, she gave us one that day.  I have put it away, my fiance said the same thing you ladies did, that I was getting upset for no reason with that, because I don't have to put those things out, I just had a problem with feeling guilty about it.  But no more!  Thanks to those who helped!

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