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Manipulative MIL Advice

Re: Manipulative MIL Advice

  • edited December 2015

    I have never posted on a message board looking for advice, but I am out of ideas myself. I am hoping that someone with a similar experience or an outside perspective can help with a solution, so here goes!

    I am a recent newlywed, I have been with my husband for five years now. When we first started dating, my husband would say things about his mother's meddling and the fact that he can't tell her anything about his personal life or she will focus on nothing else.

    So why in the world did he tell her anything at all, then???

    He can't stand up to her -- never was, looks like --- this has been going on since before you entered the picture. Doesn't bode well for you because now the problem has tricked down and you are now in the mix.

     I actually used to tell him to give her a break as I thought his complaints were exaggerated initially. Once I had met her (after some time had passed because of his concerns with her), she seemed extremely sweet and I just took her meddling as being enthusiastic. I made the effort to meet her for lunch when he was out of town and other little gestures to make her more of a part of our lives.

    As time has gone on, I see why my husband had such defined boundaries with her.  After I had moved in, we had to tell her not to show up at our house unannounced. We would sometimes still be in bed on a Saturday morning when someone would knock. After that conversation, she started doing us the favor of calling first, but usually when she was already in the immediate area. My husband even hurried me to leave the house on one occasion after one of these calls so that one of our cars would be gone. She still does this to an extent, she has adapted to doing so when she knows I am not yet home from work. Not always the surprise that you want when you pull in the driveway, but ok.

    The 2 of you need to put your foot down and keep it down. You keep buckling in to her and she keeps calling your bluff.

    Is there any way you can move so that you will be a considerable distance from her? She'd be less want to drive to your place if you are a good hour or so away.

    When it came to planning our wedding, she made no effort to hide her dismay at our choices.

    Too damn bad for her.

     My husband preferred something untraditional, so we chose a destination wedding in Mexico. We heard every reason why it was a bad idea ... the reasons got creative, such as: "I don't like flying over water." which turned into "I'm scared of flying." after we informed her the flight wasn't over the ocean. Mind you, she has been to the exact same city, flying into the exact same airport in the past without issue or incident. There were other complaints as well about our decisions. She honestly made me feel awful about our choice and it took me awhile to regain the confidence that we were doing the right thing ... what we wanted.

    If you felt bad why didn' tyou stand up for yourself and tell her to stay out of your decisions and business??

    God helps those who helps themselves. Stop being a sitting duck for her and if you don't like what she has to say, stand up for yourself.

     My husband I both agree all of the resistance was due to her picturing and wanting things a certain way. She was anxious to have everyone coming up her congratulating her and that wasn't going to happen with a smaller group.

    We have also had issues in the past with her pouting about not getting her way with things. One example of this is when she had called me letting me know that she was off of work the next day and wanted to come to our house while we were at work to babysit our dogs. Our dogs are normally at home during the day, they does not require special care. She huffed at my answer and said "THANKS!" in a loud voice and wouldn't speak to me ... I had to hand the phone to my husband. She also insists on requesting that our dogs come over for sleepovers, which we have never agreed to because frankly I find it strange. And she does have two of her grandchildren living with her, so I don't think that is what this is about. There are times when she does not like what one of us has to say and she will give you the most icy stare that you could possibly imagine.

    Honestly, my husband is usually so good about being a buffer and holding to his/our boundaries. I do not think that I could be in this relationship if it were not for his stance on things. The only problem is that sometimes when she insists heavily or often on something that she has her mind set on, he will give in eventually saying that he always says no and sometimes has to say yes. The thing is that we give in often to her reasonable requests ... to go to dinner, to come by, to go somewhere ... we even come up with things to invite her to so that we are spending time with her. It is the unreasonable things that we resist on.

    Christmas. My husband HATED Christmas when I met him. His complaints were obligations and being dragged around from house to house. I have genuinely changed his attitude by making the holidays about the things that we enjoy. She has insisted on hosting a holiday get-together for Christmas. We spend Christmas eve with my family and then Christmas Day with his family ... however she does not host. She wants to have the family party and host her own thing. My husband has told her no or offered that we can go to her house on Christmas Day and forgo the family party. This is not acceptable to her, however he has told her that we are not doing both. So, this year she has planned a lunch for a pair of family members in from out of town. Well yes, they are in town to attend the family party. Well, what do you know? She got her way after all, even though my husband is miserable about it.

    Please help! I do think my MIL has her heart in the right place. I honestly don't believe that she means to anger or inconvenience anyone. I think that using these methods over the years is the only way that she has found to get her way. I really want to nip this in the bud before we bring children into the picture (she has already said that she will be upset if she isn't the caregiver for our future children while we are working.). She will also ask my husband about something that he will decline or say no to and then she will get me alone and try to trap me into saying yes to things.

    I never understood all of this bullshit where a couple had to accommodate both sets of parents or bend over backwards to accommodate one, for the holidays.

    I strongly suggest you and he host your own Christmas and T-Day celebrations fron here on in. Reason being you and he are now your own family.... whoever can make it, fantastic; who ever cannot missed out on a good time.

    The 2 of you need to learn how to stand up for yourselves. See a counselor about this; you need some sort of assertiveness training and you both need to nip his mother in the bud asap. Otherwise this mess will go on forever.

    She also has too much time on her hands.

    There has to be something she can join, or do, to stay busy and maybe even make a few friends in the bargain. She's probably in her 50s --- she isn't an old woman --- there's hospital volunteer work, coed sports lessons, night school classes, joining things at her house of worship -- there is always a ladies' society or a choir or some type of volunteer endeavor.

    The more time she spends staying busy the les time she will have to get into your hair and your H's.:)
  • Honestly she does this shit because she knows it eventually will work.
    She calls or drops by, don't let her in.
    She is in the drive way when you get home, don't let her in.
    Christmas, go to the family party, stick to your plans.
    Rinse and repeat. Spaced repetition is the only thing that works with people like your MIL.
  •  This is not acceptable to her, however he has told her that we are not doing both. So, this year she has planned a lunch for a pair of family members in from out of town. Well yes, they are in town to attend the family party. Well, what do you know? She got her way after all, even though my husband is miserable about it.

    I dont' understand that this is her getting her way.  Do you mean that just you and her aren't getting together- she invited other family too?  Because I don't see how this means you all have to go to the family party.  If you're still only going to HER house - she's not really getting her way.

    I agree w/ the previous poster- she does everything she does because she knows that at some point, she will get her way.  Your DH flat out said it - he feels he "has" to say yes sometimes.  If you really want to  make a point and not be manipulated, then you need to be willing to FIRMLY say no and stick to it.  No caving.

    If this thing she is hosting- if the issue is that your DH doesn't want to see other family (which I'm kind of confused about) but it's still ONLY at her house, then don't go.  Period.  She hasn't put a gun to your heads, has she?
  • I am sorry for the confusion. We are doing the family party AND something at her house now since she planned it under the guise of a "welcome lunch" for out-of town family members (the same family that will be at the family party).

    Thank you for your advice everyone. I agree that we need to stand up for ourselves more and that I need to put my foot down. I thought we were being firm, but in seeing it from the outside, we're not being consistent.

  • Well, I think you can say "Oh- since we'll be seeing them at the family party, we're going to skip lunch". 

  • I know how hard it can be to stand up to overbearing family members. I promise that once you do, you will feel proud of yourself and very free. 

    Let your MIL pout. Once she sees that she isn't going to get her way all the time, she will fall in line and learn to respect your space. Unfortunately, people like her need to have their behavior modified like toddlers. 
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