Mother in law
LOUISE ANNE - May 4 2022 at 06:15
My mil is sensitive , caring , lovely Etc , all the reasons why it’s complicated. Without even knowing or noticing why , she somehow creates such anxiety.
She’s 2 different people. Perhaps all the above when things go her way. But then she has always said she can be nasty If she’s wronged , and that she’s not forgiving.
Examples- i recently had major surgery. On the build up , I’m the main thought in her head , her worries, her upset. Until we went on holiday on the build up to it, just me , my husband and my children. That’s fine , she was happy for us ( she’s made sure she came with us every other year ). My mum surprised us , booked somewhere nearby for a few days. Mil pretended not to believe it was a surprise, and refused to wish us a good time and blasted my husband about how we have hurt and mistreated them.
My op came along , she was lovely worried attentive and loving to me. I’m recovering so she’s gone a bit more distant. Still visits.
The first thing I experienced which took me by surprise years ago , was she invited us good Friday. My mum could only do good Friday. I didn’t think it would be a problem. ! To swap her to the Sunday. She didn’t speak to us for a week , and refused to see us on a good Friday again.
I feel anxious if I don’t update her on everything. Somehow to do with things in my life , she’s the first thought In my head!
When We went on holiday with the in-laws , there would end up a night where it was just me and mil in on our own. Somehow always got on to the conversation of affairs. Knowing my mum had an affair when I was younger, she’d indirectly at me say , I Csn never understand these people who forgive their mums for affairs, I don’t know how they can do that to their dads.
A while ago me my husband and 2 of my daughters went to York with them, they treated us to the room. They paid for it because I was on sick leave following my surgery.
My mum looked after my dog, picked my eldest to from work , then bought her tea. My sister in law saw them so told my mother in law. Mil text me saying Joanne saw your mum and she was looking after the dog, and she’d picked Megan up and got her tea. I replied yeah that’s right ! She replied I was surprised because you hadn’t said anything. Since that she went but different , stopped texting asking after my recovery , started conversations about how she won’t be used. Indirectly. I have no desire to mention things about my family because of cold responses I’ve got.
She has to be the best , the most important. Always right.
Full of love and genuine great person , but when it’s going her way.
No understanding if it doesn’t please her.
Someone told me recently they think this is controlling behaviour.
I’ve felt genuinely ill with her.
It’s complicated because she’s also this great person
That 'someone' who whispered in your ear was exactly right because your MIL is an archetypal controller where it's her way or the highway. Yeah, things are great when its all happening her way but let it go pear shaped and look out for the classic cold shoulder treatment.
You do not belong to her, nor should you be subject to her whims and her opinions of your immediate family circumstances, past or present, or your personal life. Respect is a two way street and it's earned, and it's not to be expected, ever.
Cut this woman loose from your life and let your actions tell her what you think of her manipulation and her ability to have you walking on eggshells because you fear her reaction to your normal, everyday actions which, by the way, don't have to include her.
Caring, sensitive and a great person?..I think not.
Thank you so much , you’re absolutely right.
I doubt myself because of how she can be. She’s the type of person that can’t bare a poorly animal or child for example, against betting on horses, would wake up upset over someone close if they were having a bad time. it makes me confused and doubt myself when I feel so negative about her . Does this matter that she is Also like this? Does that mean she can still be the controller and manipulator and not a great person?
Yeah she can be a caring person but only when it suits her to be. Let someone else get in her way of caring for that unwell child or that poorly animal and the most important thing will be that it's HER doing the hard yards thank you very much and how dare you interfere.
She ends up being the most important part of the whole equation & the poor child etc just comes last. She too busy making sure that everyone else knows what she's doing and remember, she won't be used.
At the end of the day, your husband is the one to tell you where his mother gets off and what she's like. If you don't instinctively like her, it's no sin and if you go out of your way to accommodate her without her doing your head in, then so be it. She won't change and it's your decision which way and where she fits into your life, and if at all.
It's how well we treat people who don't deserve it, is how we define our character.
Absolutely, you are spot on !
She’s one of them as well that says “ well I’m not asking them , they can ask me “ eg: to go visit her.
Or, if she was poorly , she’d expect people to ask her how she is , but if others were poorly she’d expect to be told and for her not to have to ask! It’s all about how things are implied at her.
Once I got a new one phone and because I hadn’t mentioned it she sarcastically said “ oh I thought it must be some big secret”.
He really is spot-on, isn't he! (thumbs-up)
"Does that mean she can still be the controller and manipulator and not (sic) a great person?"
She can indeed be both. And this is precisely why these types do your head in (loves me, loves me not, loves me loves me not in the same 5 minutes, love me not, loves me not, loves me again....) and - because a mind in two halves can't take the whole step of a decision to act - why they're so incredibly difficult to DECIDE to leave....Hence lyrics like, I'm caught in a trap, I can't get out, because I love you too much, baby.
Her behaviour and attitudes do sound Narcissistic, albeit just Benign (OR low-scale NPD), type Grandiose, as there's no malignancy nor certainly any plotting and engineering, it's all just ego, including her being over-sensitive to incoming - deaf, dumb and blind to what she sends out.
This switching from Nice to Snarky (or with a malignant - nasty, cruel, even sadistic, and actually sabotaging and destructive) is called Jekyll & Hyde and is caused by Splitting (go google).
Additionally, her kindnesses sound as if they moreover rely on her being able to share or steal the limelight so that she can be SEEN to be an angel and BE NEEDED, above everyone (tick!). And she REALLY can't handle disappointment - or her initial (but long-lasting) reaction to it - can she (tick!). Plus she approaches people the wrong way (as if they're guilty for a fact) (tick!), rather than the honest and vulnerable, gentle, way in question form ("Why did X happen? - it really hurt my feelings") (not verbatim, obviously - too perfunctory). Her inability to show her vulnerable side in front of someone is why all this over-defensive hinty-hinty nonsense ('thought it must be a big secret').
I'll give her a Hall Pass for the ruined Good Friday, though. She no doubt would have spent a lot of money (and effort) shopping for goodies and making preparations (all excitedly, no doubt) and your arrangement-change-proposal did sound a bit Eleventh Hour(?), which would have upset anyone (albeit, anyone MATURE would have dealt with it better).
Plus, what I don't understand is, why your mum couldn't have joined you all at MIL's - or the MIL and FIL to yours?
Tell me, was this what started it all off?
She's got a massive persecution-complex, that's for sure. *But I'd be interested to know whether it's innate (how she's always been - your husband would know that) or reactive (how she's for too long been mistreated, thereby treatable), i.e. Character Disturbed as opposed to Character/Personality Disordered? Something about her makes me suspect, disturbed-reactive. I think it's because she IS still visiting, despite feels aggrieved. And that's not selfishness, it's her honouring her sense of duty towards you. And it IS her doing the 'sleeves' bit.
Or do you think this is all for show, to keep up appearances, too?
What is for-sure, is that she has a VERY fragile ego.
You say nothing about FIL and what he thinks, says or does in these situations?
But anyway, the whole things can be summed up as this, major characteristic peculiar to ALL narcs of all types and degrees:
Her love seems overly conditional.
(AND, obviously - Me, Me, Me!).
She must LIKE you, then, to make you that exception whereby she still did her mother-in-lawly duty (despite was a bit cold and snooty about it, acting like the victim)?
Then there is this separate issue:
"was surprised because you hadn’t said anything. Since that she went but different , stopped texting asking after my recovery , started conversations about how she won’t be used. Indirectly. I have no desire to mention things about my family because of cold responses I’ve got. "
I agree especially with Manalone's advice, that you'll have to ask (or demand if you have already) your husband to gently explain this self-fulfilling prophesy she's created, whereby, because she reacts over-prematurely badly each time (assumes the worst), you've ceased filling her in on your side's biz (expecting the worst), and because of that, she thinks something must be up or she's being ostracised somehow and - wait for it - reacts badly. Which for you guys, means YOU CAN'T WIN.
You MAYBE can - if it's her trusted child who explains?
After all, SHE IS HIS MUM - SHE'S NOT YOURS. Why do YOU have to deal with her? Is he forcing you, by playing it down and refusing to wade in, or just letting you because you're so proactive (and because he'd had enough of trying, years back)?
Or, better yet, you and your husband together (especially if he's too chicken lol). Why it's called Marriage, eh.
If that doesn't do the trick, then you really Can't Win aka Can't Do Right For Doing Wrong...which will be one major Tick! too far and you'll know she really won't and can't (yes, that way round) change, in which case, reeeeaaaalllly graduallyyyyyy, bit-by-bit, shuffle awaaay to where you're in each others' lives less but where she doesn't feel it too much and has the room without panic to fill your gap with other (poor, lol) people.
But I'm interested to hear the answers to my questions in the meantime.
Here's a tack I've used before - which proves whether or not the person can be melted:
While she potters around your sickbed, just gently place your hand on her forearm or hand and say,
"I miss you...Can't we sort this out?"
A person would have to be made of STEEL not to be snapped out of it by that.
If you get anything other than her responding in kind - either commence plan Surreptitious Shuffle or tell your husband, OVER TO YOU, SHE'S ALL YOURS FROM NOW ON.
PS: I couldn't help notice what could be a little clue (and I reckon you sense it too, hence supplied it):
"Somehow always got on to the conversation of affairs. Knowing my mum had an affair when I was younger, she’d indirectly at me say , I Csn never understand these people who forgive their mums for affairs, I don’t know how they can do that to their dads. "
Sounds to me like she's a bit obsessed with it? Could be she really wants to know how other women do it and seemingly get away with it. She must, therefore, logically, know that she couldn't with her fella (and son?). Yet, still, she wants to know in deeper and deeper detail, huh?
I mean, you understandably, automatically assume she's trying to have an overly regular dig at you, but - ?
Curiouser and curiouser, said Alice.
Women (bar NPD females) tend to cheat for different reasons to men.
Maybe FIL isn't all that nice to her? THAT would explain her constantly agitated, hyper-vigilant and -defensive state, WOULDN'T it just.
You'd know more than I would, though. ?
It's just...this case is niggling me - BECAUSE, even after more than enough time to hate her guts "and nice side be damned!" - you speak so fondly of her. And that equals 50-50 as a Dark-to-Light ratio....bit low for a bona fide... And also because I know that, often, long-term victims of malignant narcissists TEND NOT to always constantly be that nice to be around. Plus there's her obvious, inexplicable insecurity....?
Hiya soulmate. Thank you for your great insight.
You have picked up on so much about her !
To answer your first question about both sides of the family , I feel so anxious and worked up iat the thought of it. She has made many comments over the years and all I feel from her is a complete bitterness at my mum , strangely not my whole family , just my mum mostly , and her husband who Ashe refuses to say his name. He loves my children and has been around all their life , but she found out once that my children call him grandad. She slagged us off to everyone , she even said to me things like “ he’s not their grandad. And Ishe can’t stand steo relatives being called grandad. In her eyes none of them really love the kids ! She really doesn’t see the good in a lot of people.
I know I f I got them together , she’d judge and bitch about my family to sis in law after the event.
The irony is , my sis in law ( who’s alright ) would go along with mills issues with my family ( probably coz it got her own ff her back )
But , sis law was with a man and they had 2 chikren. 5 years in she had an affair with a woman and
And they are still together years on. Very happy. Wow this caused major problems. To begin sis in law was broken ( mil never liked the man ahe was with ) nothing really bad about him , she doesn’t like most people , or MAYBE most people that are close to her loved ones.
Anyway she gave it a go for several months , accepting the new woman , but then new woman moved in with sis in law.
Well she could not bars it ! She tried to say she was being loyal to the ex , which wasn’t true. Otherwise she wouldn’t have been ok for months. She said to me I’m more loyal than you. Said it’s not about loyalty to him , I said you already told me you couldn’t bare the thought Of her all over sis in law.
It came out in further conversations she couldn’t bare her playing parent living in same house as grandchildren. Didn’t like that it was only her so tried to accuse the rest of us of not caring about the children. She speaks to as in law regular but won’t speak of the woman she’s with , won’t accept her , won’t have her in her sight , snd won’t go to the upcoming wedding.
She told me she has wished the most evil things on her. She didn’t like that sis in law didn’t do what she wants , with regards to new woman so
So she twists to “ sis in law really hurt her , didn’t care about her etc etc. she says yea they speak ( thick as thrives actually ) but she will forever say @ “ but il never forgive her.
You asked about fil too. He’s lovely , but annoying coz he also sucks up , and will drop us is minor things to get a break himself. She said she’s not stopping him going to the wedding. Sil said not true coz he knows his life would be hell if he went. He doesn’t say much , quiet life I suppose. Through lock down I didn’t see mil for months. The truth is I didn’t miss her one slight bit. Im an emotional quite soft person, so it spoke volumes to me that I didn’t feel a thing. If she left the country tomorrow all I would feel is free.
Love so much what you picked up on, the affair stuff too! Yes! Absolutely. I’ve said similar! My husband is a bit like his dad , he just doesn’t say anything. They have probably been moulded more than me I suppose. Definitely over conditional love ,100 percent. If you speak nice of another person or relative. It’s like she almost doesn’t like it. She’s said stuff like” what and I’m not “. For example If said such a body is really helpful. When my eldest was a baby my mums husband decorated her room, I was very oblivious to what she could be like , well less wise. I was taken by surprise when I saiid @ you wanna come see new bedroom , mil looked at me blank , ignored me and never went in to that room.
I’d fil or sil had done it she’d be singing from the roof tops how lovely it is.
I wonder if she cannot bare people wio are close to her being close to others ?
She hasn’t liked most of the new partners of her children /grandchild.
She liked me because I was very shy when I came along , and quite vulnerable. If I’d have been loud and confident she’d have hated me 😂.
She used to accompany me to doctors when I had to go regularly, she was so concerned!
But If it was my family doing with me I think she’d get too bitter to be concerned.
Hello Louise-Anne, I just read all this & wanted to pop on & ask if you are feeling better about things? I hope so. I don't have any advice as I can't handle my own life situations but if it helps to know a stranger (me) read these posts & can relate. Soulmate is a great advisor. You're in good hands.
Thank you so much for popping on, that’s very kind. Soul Mate is fantastic! Hope your life situations are getting easier to handle.
(Aw shucks, LOL.)
Apologies to you, too, Louise Anne, for my no-show the last couple of days - I got swallowed up by a busyness tidal wave!
Bear with a tiny bit longer, I'll reply asap - hopefully as soon as tomorrow.
(Thanks for keeping her company, Trans. :-) )
PS: In fact, Manalone takes most of the credit. I thought his response was pretty much a masterpiece. Me, I'm just going into details...the whys and wherefores and how long fors.
Thanks so much soul mate. You’re very gifted! 😊😊😊
Well! After reading all of that, all that extra frisking-her, the jury is in: She is definitely a Narc.
I mean - YUCK, JUST YUCK. She is VILE.
And whilst I'm at it -
FIL is a vi-tim-turned Enabler and SIL is a victim-turned-Flying Monkey (go Google).
What's your husband like to be married to?
"You’re very gifted!"
Yeah, I know..... Great....
Trouble is, it looks used now. So I can't even re-wrap and give it to someone else.
Thank you soul mate. I just love the honesty and your ability to just see things as they are!
I terrible at doubting myself. I think largely because it is so confusing at times. Honestly you’d never believe it if you met her ! She genuinely can be big hearted and would hate to upset people, so I just don’t get it ! I think if she feels wronged then she’s like jekyl and hide. My
Husband is a great person to be honest , he really is. A bit mothered but a real good un.
You're most welcome. :-)
You need to cure that confusion by surfing about (ordinary but high) Narcissism, and Narcissistic Personality Disorder and how they (er) function in relationships, also the mother/daughter-in-law in particular. You'll find her behaviour described, explained and labelled, whereby you might well be able to preempt and avoid her dark side. This is still walking on eggshells, which is still not good for normal, healthy humans to have to do on an ongoing basis, but if you intend to simultaneously slowly shuffle away to a safer distance it's okay.
The other alternative is to be brave and kindly confront, as I say, and explain why you find her reactions to what you consider benign happenings, so unnecessary, not least because it's her, upsetting herself by choosing to land on the negative, self-victimising explanation(s) rather than exploring the benign or even well-meant potential. Because - yes, if she feels wronged then, suddenly, the "wrongdoer" becomes the secret enemy. (She may even have a touch of Paranoid Personality Disorder...most do, albeit, tends to be the ones higher up the scale. They can have a lot of overlap, however, these "Cluster B" personalities, which are known as Co-morbidities, e.g. Narcissistic PD co-morbid with Histrionic PD or Borderline PD.)
Might not work a jot - or SEEM to have worked but then next time proven not, but at least you can then shuffle away with a clean conscience (knowing you've done everything in your power to give her another chance).
What does your husband have to say about his mother now, and how she was when he was growing-up?