Author Topic: Handling MIL's monologues; graceful interruptions? Other ideas?  (Read 9138 times)

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Lady Snowdon

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Re: Handling MIL's monologues; graceful interruptions? Other ideas?
« Reply #30 on: July 01, 2012, 09:31:26 PM »
Oh goodness, I think I'm hearing descriptions of what my FIL could turn into, given a few years!  It's a little scary to contemplate!  He's not quite as far as making handouts, but he certainly will monopolize conversation, given a chance, and prefers to monologue at people rather than actually having a conversation. 

There are two things his family does to cope with the monologuing.  One, they start other conversations.  They don't interrupt FIL as he's talking, just turn to another person and bring up another topic.  This reduces his audience, and sometimes causes him to stop talking since we're not all hanging breathlessly on his every word. 

Secondly, and I thought this was incredibly rude the first time I saw someone do it, if he won't stop talking about *whatever topic* and the person he's monologuing to isn't interested, they just leave the room.  It's taken him up to fifteen minutes by my estimates to realize that the person has walked away; my DH says it sometimes takes him hours.  After thinking about it, I've decided this isn't as rude as I initially thought it was.  FIL is simply vocalizing his stream of conciousness thoughts; he doesn't actually need an audience, so losing an audience doesn't really matter to him.  It doesn't sound like your MIL would talk to a blank wall if she got the chance (a common joke about FIL), so I don't think this would really work, except as a last resort after you've tried everything else. 

greencat

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Re: Handling MIL's monologues; graceful interruptions? Other ideas?
« Reply #31 on: July 02, 2012, 05:09:54 AM »
So often I've noticed this (well, not quite this bad) in poorly socialized people I've interacted with.  They don't get to talk to other people much, so when they do have an appreciative audience, they monopolize the conversation to the point where the other person wants to chew their arm off to get away and avoids them afterward, thus reducing the person's social circle farther.

I did have an idea though - one that might make your narcissist-in-law happy and easier to deal with.  Set her up with some kind of simple recording equipment and ask her to record what she wants to say.  Tell her it's so that when she's gone, you'll have the tapes around to keep her close, and to provide future generations with a glimpse of their ancestors.  You might be able to get an actual conversation out of her if she's been able to deliver her monologues already, and she'll get to feel like you value what she wants to say so much that you want it recorded for posterity.

I also second getting her mental status evaluated.  Dementia isn't just about forgetfulness - it's also deviations from normal behavior or worsening of preexisting personality flaws.

bopper

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Re: Handling MIL's monologues; graceful interruptions? Other ideas?
« Reply #32 on: July 02, 2012, 10:00:50 AM »


I don't know if this will help at all, but I seem to remember something about Narcissists respecting people in positions of authority...or at least being willing to go along with what they say. You said she claims that she has the authority. Maybe it is time for your husband to claim the authority as the pater familias and lay down the law for her. At the very least, when she is in your home, he and you are the authority per etiquette, not her as mother of one of you. Either of you should be reminding her of that. Your house your rules.

Good luck. Narcissists are PITAs.

I think that this may be a tactic to try before cutting her off if you still want to try something.

JeanFromBNA

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Re: Handling MIL's monologues; graceful interruptions? Other ideas?
« Reply #33 on: July 02, 2012, 03:07:58 PM »
From your description, GratefulMaria, your MIL sounds like she may be mentally ill and getting worse.  I would suggest getting her evaluated by a professional at your earliest opportunity.  There may be a way to improve this for her and you, and you won't know until it's been checked out.

OTOH, your Mom sounds like a real gem!

The Wild One, Forever

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Re: Handling MIL's monologues; graceful interruptions? Other ideas?
« Reply #34 on: July 02, 2012, 03:28:07 PM »
I hope my aunt doesn't read on this board.  She'd see the part about the hand-outs and think, "gee, what a GREAT idea!  Why have I never thought of that before!  I'll jut get my slave care-taker daughter to run off some copies for me!"
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NestHolder

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Re: Handling MIL's monologues; graceful interruptions? Other ideas?
« Reply #35 on: July 02, 2012, 05:23:14 PM »
My first thought on reading this was that the MIL would be a lot less lonely if she interacted with other people. 

Good luck getting that thought into her head, though...

Arianoor

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Re: Handling MIL's monologues; graceful interruptions? Other ideas?
« Reply #36 on: July 02, 2012, 07:26:05 PM »
Can't you just interupt her?  I have a guy at work that pontificates like crazy and I just have to force myself to interupt him.  He doesn't seem to mind, which seems weird to me.  Does she get mad if you interupt her and then head the conversation in your own direction?  The rest of the group could jump in and help.

GratefulMaria

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Re: Handling MIL's monologues; graceful interruptions? Other ideas?
« Reply #37 on: July 03, 2012, 02:42:31 PM »
Just wanted to thank those who raised possibility of medical issues.  We'll definitely keep our eyes open and be ready to intervene.  To her credit, MIL is cooperative and proactive about her health.

And I am so, so sorry about those relatives who'll read this thread and think, "Handouts!  What a great idea!!!"

Kari

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Re: Handling MIL's monologues; graceful interruptions? Other ideas?
« Reply #38 on: July 06, 2012, 09:38:26 AM »
A modern solution: Set her up with a blog or a podcast. She can talk to her heart's content, and family members can check in to post comments to give her the validation she's craving. She gets to ramble to her heart's content, while her monologues are corralled to a more manageable forum, freeing up conversations for all i nattendance.

Margo

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Re: Handling MIL's monologues; graceful interruptions? Other ideas?
« Reply #39 on: July 06, 2012, 01:37:40 PM »
Since she is already making handouts (or 'bandits' as my phone's spellcheck suggests) is it worth suggesting she simply give these to you, either in advance of the day you see her  or at the time.if she gives you them in advance, you can tell her you'll take some time to look at it and can discuss anything relevant when you meet - if afterwards you can tell her you'll read it when you are not busy hosting Thanksgiving.
It might allow her to feel her concerns/points are being heard, and if she starts monologing you can remind her that you've already read her notes/will read them when you are not hosting.

hobish

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Re: Handling MIL's monologues; graceful interruptions? Other ideas?
« Reply #40 on: July 06, 2012, 02:12:46 PM »
So often I've noticed this (well, not quite this bad) in poorly socialized people I've interacted with.  They don't get to talk to other people much, so when they do have an appreciative audience, they monopolize the conversation to the point where the other person wants to chew their arm off to get away and avoids them afterward, thus reducing the person's social circle farther.

I did have an idea though - one that might make your narcissist-in-law happy and easier to deal with.  Set her up with some kind of simple recording equipment and ask her to record what she wants to say.  Tell her it's so that when she's gone, you'll have the tapes around to keep her close, and to provide future generations with a glimpse of their ancestors.  You might be able to get an actual conversation out of her if she's been able to deliver her monologues already, and she'll get to feel like you value what she wants to say so much that you want it recorded for posterity.

I also second getting her mental status evaluated.  Dementia isn't just about forgetfulness - it's also deviations from normal behavior or worsening of preexisting personality flaws.

What a great idea, and a compassionate one, too. My grandmother was no treat but i kind of wish we had asked her to do this ... so, not only could this be useful; but possibly even true.

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VltGrantham

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Re: Handling MIL's monologues; graceful interruptions? Other ideas?
« Reply #41 on: July 09, 2012, 12:21:45 PM »
Quote
I hope my aunt doesn't read on this board.  She'd see the part about the hand-outs and think, "gee, what a GREAT idea!  Why have I never thought of that before!  I'll jut get my slave care-taker daughter to run off some copies for me!

I keep getting this mental image of Grace and her slides from "Will and Grace" when her boyfriend broke up with her.  At least she hasn't taken to slides or Power Point presentations yet.  Hopefully nobody will clue her in.