Author Topic: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 6)  (Read 21722 times)

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Iris

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Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 5)
« Reply #90 on: January 01, 2013, 04:29:40 PM »
Personally, I would stop giving her any attention. Don't stop her in the hallway and tell her to be civil or anything else. Calmly invite her into your home, expect that she behave like a 'normal' guest, and make her leave if she doesn't, but without drama or listening to her reasons or anything else. If she rings to talk about her 'relationship' then simply calmly say "Yes, you have said this. I have to go now. 'Bye!" If she tries to engage you in any crazy, act uninterested and then remove yourself from the situation.

The reason I say this is because at this point the only options I can see are that either your MIL is the biggest attention hound that ever lived OR she has an actual mental illness. I'm assuming she doesn't have an actual mental illness, although I haven't read every post in the thread, so I'm just going to speak to the first possibility. I don't like to feed attention hounds and so I just don't feed into their drama. I take a calm and polite interest in them and stay at least outwardly detached (easy to say I know, but it can be done I promise). I don't cut them off because that gives them a source of attention as they martyr themselves over it to others, I don't argue, I don't listen to their hour long rants about their feelings. This worked so well with one attention hound closely related to me that she doesn't ring me anymore (hallelujah).

If you stop giving her attention I'm predicting one of two things will happen; either she will stop visiting altogether or she will visit but make a big point of her distance - refuse to interact with your DD at all etc. If she does the second one then after a couple of visits I would simply say to FIL "Look, we love it when you visit, but WHY are you bringing MIL? That kind of behaviour is going to be awful for DD when she is a little older. Why don't you just come on your own from now on?"
"Can't do anything with children, can you?" the woman said.

Poirot thought you could, but forebore to say so.

Hmmmmm

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Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 5)
« Reply #91 on: January 01, 2013, 04:38:12 PM »
I think your DH needs to tell his mom he doesn't want her to fake a relationship and you guys are fine with his father visiting and participating in your families life with out his mom.  And I'd look at the gifts as being gifts from his Dad and keep them.

And you eventually tell your child that grandpa's wife is not comfortable with family and prefers to live separately.

gemma156

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Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 5)
« Reply #92 on: January 01, 2013, 05:13:08 PM »
Actually it is sounding like your dh's mother is afraid of getting old, and handling it very badly.  When she was in her prime she was great. Then came along a newer and prettier female version into the family, aka yourself, and she felt threatened.  Your engagement meant that you were becoming a new member of the family she had to compete with on an ongoing basis, then the wedding confirmed it.  Now she is in a panic and not handling it well. 

The next stage of life comes along in your family and you welcome a lovely and beautiful girl, this now means she is officially a grandparent, no longer in her prime and beautiful.  So she cannot function at all in this family unit where she has lost her feminine power and not wanting to confront it, as that would be naming her fear - she tells your family that she cannot be in your lives.

But your dh's father is delighted, he may not show it emotionally as most older men don't.  They also don't normally know to follow up right after having children to see if all is well.  Usually they wait to be told when they are needed and probably thought you'd appreciate him not being underfoot, at a big time.   But he must be talking about it excitably at home, sending your mil into a panic to plan a holiday to get away from going to the hospital.  He most likely thought that no big deal, again you probably would be very busy and not wanting too many visitors, so he could kill 2 birds with one stone.  Keep the wife happy on a holiday, then come visit the new baby when you would most likely welcome visitors.

So they come FIL excited to see the new family member and MIL because not coming would mean having to disclose her real reasons of growing older and no longer attractive.  She can't not come because in FIL's eyes that would mean she's in danger of losing respect and her feminine charm to him.  So she goes along and endures, what she has to.  Your FIL is obviously in love with his new granddaughter as he is talking about her to others, such is why your SIL told you that they are coming again.  She knows how her mother is because she also is a threat to her beauty as a woman, and is no doubt of her mother's behaviour.  So they come again.  I would say that your FIL is smittened with your new baby.

It probably is time for the family to name the white elephant in the room before it gets any bigger, or just accept that your MIL cannot function well in what she believes to be a threat to her aging. 

Deetee

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Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 5)
« Reply #93 on: January 01, 2013, 06:22:59 PM »
Personally, I would stop giving her any attention. Don't stop her in the hallway and tell her to be civil or anything else. Calmly invite her into your home, expect that she behave like a 'normal' guest, and make her leave if she doesn't, but without drama or listening to her reasons or anything else. If she rings to talk about her 'relationship' then simply calmly say "Yes, you have said this. I have to go now. 'Bye!" If she tries to engage you in any crazy, act uninterested and then remove yourself from the situation.

The reason I say this is because at this point the only options I can see are that either your MIL is the biggest attention hound that ever lived OR she has an actual mental illness. I'm assuming she doesn't have an actual mental illness, although I haven't read every post in the thread, so I'm just going to speak to the first possibility. I don't like to feed attention hounds and so I just don't feed into their drama. I take a calm and polite interest in them and stay at least outwardly detached (easy to say I know, but it can be done I promise). I don't cut them off because that gives them a source of attention as they martyr themselves over it to others, I don't argue, I don't listen to their hour long rants about their feelings. This worked so well with one attention hound closely related to me that she doesn't ring me anymore (hallelujah).

If you stop giving her attention I'm predicting one of two things will happen; either she will stop visiting altogether or she will visit but make a big point of her distance - refuse to interact with your DD at all etc. If she does the second one then after a couple of visits I would simply say to FIL "Look, we love it when you visit, but WHY are you bringing MIL? That kind of behaviour is going to be awful for DD when she is a little older. Why don't you just come on your own from now on?"

This. MIL needs waaaay less attention for her unreasonableness. (Or way less attention from her son. Perhaps some attention from a medical professional would be a good idea.)

weeblewobble

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Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 6)
« Reply #94 on: January 01, 2013, 06:53:51 PM »
Er, no.  She doesn't get to give you the cut direct, but then show up to your house whenever it suits her.  You can tell anyone not living in the home to stay out of your house, and when someone tells you, "I don't want anything to do with you or your baby." GIVE HER WHAT SHE WANTS.

Tell your father-in-law that 1) when he wants to come visit, he needs to address that with you so you can set that up, not relay that message through a third party like SIL.  and 2) He needs to leave MIL at home.  Her presence in your house is stressful, particularly when she shows up unexpected and uninvited.

As for the gifts, they gave them willingly and you accepted them thinking that you were all attempting civility.  There's no fault here.  But, if the cash makes you uncomfortable, you can always mail it to them with a polite note stating that you are comfortable accepting it.


Otterpop

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Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 6)
« Reply #95 on: January 01, 2013, 07:19:02 PM »
Yes, it sounds like MIL is addicted to drama and must manufacture it at every opportunity.  Don't get caught up in it or give her the attention your new baby so rightly deserves.  Treat her like a mentally ill relative that you must work around to have peace and family relations.  When she becomes unreasonable, quickly show her the door or take your leave.  FIL can decide what to do because she's his problem not yours.  Your first concern is your DH and baby.  Everyone else can behave or miss out.

Magnet

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Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 6)
« Reply #96 on: January 01, 2013, 07:40:58 PM »
My goodness this is a lot of drama for an expected momma.

I agree with Gemma that MIL is afraid of the title "grandma" in an over-the-top, possibly psychotic,  way.  Leave her be and don't see her for a long while.  If FIL wants to see the baby, then you should follow Weeblewobble's advice and all communications go through you (not DH) and MIL is not invited.  This is a baby.  She is going to be around for a long-long time (I hope) and will be a new member of the family, and MIL cannot control the growth and diminution of the family.  No one can.

Congratulations on your little girl, don't speak about this woman for a while, and concentrate on you.

bonyk

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Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 6)
« Reply #97 on: January 01, 2013, 07:53:20 PM »
I agree, no more attention for MIL.  If she calls again, DH should respond, "Look, Mom, be in our lives or be out of our lives.  Your choice.  But I'm just not interested in this drama.  Good-bye."

JenJay

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Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 5)
« Reply #98 on: January 01, 2013, 08:31:31 PM »
I think your DH needs to tell his mom he doesn't want her to fake a relationship and you guys are fine with his father visiting and participating in your families life with out his mom.  And I'd look at the gifts as being gifts from his Dad and keep them.

And you eventually tell your child that grandpa's wife is not comfortable with family and prefers to live separately.

Exactly! DH's mom wants him to beg her to come around and do back flips to please her when she does. I imagine when he stopped her in the hall she probably though he was going to try to negotiate some kind of compromise. Man she must have been ticked when it turned out he meant only to stand up for his wife and child and demand they be treated with kindness and respect in their own home. Your DH is awesome, btw, but I doubt you need me to tell you that.  :D

Anyway, you know what you'll get if you actually succeed in talking her into maintaining a relationship with you? Constant criticism about how you're raising your child. Do yourselves a favor and accept what she's offering. DH should call his dad and explain that you two are fine with MIL choosing to check out of this relationship and she shouldn't feel pressured to come over when he visits - it'll just be awkward for everyone. Tell him he's welcome to come alone or you can meet at a restaurant, park, etc. Tell him, too, that gifts should be addressed from him only because it'll be too difficult to explain to DD as she grows up why she has a grandmother who sends her gifts but never visits.

RooRoo

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Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 6)
« Reply #99 on: January 01, 2013, 10:00:48 PM »
JenJay, I think you were, at one point, a little too easy on the grandfather. So I edited:

Quote
DH should call his dad and explain that you two are fine with that MIL choosing has chosen to check out of this re1ationship and she shouldn't feel pressured to come over when he visits - it'll just be awkward for everyone, and tell him about the e-mail. Tell him he's welcome to come alone or you can meet at a restaurant, park, etc, but that MIL is not welcome. Tell him, too, that gifts should be addressed from him only because it'll be too difficult to explain to DD as she grows up why she has a grandmother who sends her gifts but never visits.

The main reason for my edit is that it's not direct enough to be effective. Saying "she shouldn't feel pressured" shows a sympathy towards her that you don't have - and she doesn't deserve. And why suggest that you all meet elsewhere? DD will still have to deal with a toxic grandmother. It should be clear that she is the one who requested an end to the relationship.

And be sure to tell Grandpa that he is very welcome, as he obviously loves his DGD. She deserves loving grandparents. She definitely doesn't deserve to be asking herself what it is about her that is so awful that her grandmother hates her. (BTDT. Daddy left when I was still in diapers. I have no memories of his presence, but it still scarred me.)
"Someday we must write a book of Etiquette for sensible people," said Mrs. Morland, "though apart from a few rules it really boils down to an educated mind and a kind heart." ~ Angela Thirkell, Never Too Late

ladyknight1

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Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 6)
« Reply #100 on: January 01, 2013, 10:28:03 PM »
From the yelling on the phone after the impromptu visit, I don't think the MIL is willing or able to speak calmly about this situation.

OP, I am so happy you and your DH have a beautiful baby girl to love. Now that she is here, you will need to make sure your family of DH, you and your baby are your priorities. I don't think you should waste any energy on your MIL. DH and I have made a family of friends and some relatives we are close to. Our lives have been enriched by them. I wish the same for you.

JadeAngel

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Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 6)
« Reply #101 on: January 01, 2013, 10:32:20 PM »
I read your story and the updates and it sounds to me like your MIL was fine with you when you were just friends with her son, but when the two of you got together she realized that you were a serious contender to be more important to her son than she was and she cooled off on you very rapidly. I would also guess that the other girlfriends she liked were the ones who were perhaps not serious and stood no chance of stealing DH away from her. Now you've produced a beautiful daughter for DH (congrats by the way!) pushing MIL further down the line in terms of importance.

I assume DH is not an only child since you mention his sister so I wonder if he is the youngest child and she resents you for taking her 'baby' away from her. At any rate her behavior has been steadily worsening the more DH cements himself into the family he has created with you and away from MIL and her influence.

It's a tricky situation, she has given you the cut direct and yet she keeps turning up unannounced at your home. Telling her to leave will probably exile your FIL who clearly wants to be part of his grandchild's life, but having her come in and criticize and make these visits all about her is hardly ideal. My suggestion would be to ask FIL to call before he just turns up to give you some time to prepare and be forewarned and to adopt what is almost a dog training technique with MIL where you reward her for the behavior you want to see and ignore her when she starts misbehaving. Don't rise to the bait when she starts making passive aggressive comments, she's trying to display herself as the victim here, shunned and dismissed by her son because he is under the spell of his 'evil wife'. After all he would never say such things to his own dear mother if she weren't making him do it... poor, deserving of sympathy, hard done by, blameless MIL  :'(

She's being manipulative, your job now is to make sure that your daughter never gets drawn into this game, if that means cutting off your MIL so be it.

JenJay

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Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 6)
« Reply #102 on: January 01, 2013, 10:55:19 PM »
JenJay, I think you were, at one point, a little too easy on the grandfather. So I edited:

Quote
DH should call his dad and explain that you two are fine with that MIL choosing has chosen to check out of this re1ationship and she shouldn't feel pressured to come over when he visits - it'll just be awkward for everyone, and tell him about the e-mail. Tell him he's welcome to come alone or you can meet at a restaurant, park, etc, but that MIL is not welcome. Tell him, too, that gifts should be addressed from him only because it'll be too difficult to explain to DD as she grows up why she has a grandmother who sends her gifts but never visits.

The main reason for my edit is that it's not direct enough to be effective. Saying "she shouldn't feel pressured" shows a sympathy towards her that you don't have - and she doesn't deserve. And why suggest that you all meet elsewhere? DD will still have to deal with a toxic grandmother. It should be clear that she is the one who requested an end to the relationship.

And be sure to tell Grandpa that he is very welcome, as he obviously loves his DGD. She deserves loving grandparents. She definitely doesn't deserve to be asking herself what it is about her that is so awful that her grandmother hates her. (BTDT. Daddy left when I was still in diapers. I have no memories of his presence, but it still scarred me.)

Actually I wrote what I did deliberately. I think the MIL is looking to martyr herself here and I would refuse to play along. At this point I wouldn't state that she is not welcome because I think that's what she wants. Drama, drama, drama! Like the tactics discussed in the "giving P/A people what they want" thread, I would disengage. She said she wants out. Fine, we accept that, you're out. She says she'll come over even though it'll be awkward *big martyr sigh*. No need, we accept that you choose not to come over.

I'd absolutely escalate to "Nope, you aren't welcome." if she jerked me around again. I just wouldn't kick it off now, personally. She ended this relationship and she should feel that.

Rusty

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Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 6)
« Reply #103 on: January 01, 2013, 11:11:34 PM »
Your situation sounds very much like the one my DH and I found ourselves in years ago when my father re-married at the age of 60 (he's now 93 and a widower, thank goodness even though I know that sounds horrible). My SM was so horrible that we eventually had to bar her from our home, the children hated her and the feeling was mutual.  Unfortunately she forbad my father from visiting us alone, as I had asked him to do.  At first she would sit in the car while he visited, then she stopped him coming at all and my strong gentle father gave in to her "to keep the peace".  We hardly saw him for 10 years until she got sick and he realised he would be alone soon, so he started visiting us (secretly at first). SM has been dead now 5 years and even though he is now very old, at least we have him in our lives.    The reason I say this is I can hear the SM echoing in your relationship with your MIL.  I'm pretty sure your FIL tells her he is going to visit, they have a row, and she goes along because she cannot bear not to know what goes on while he is there, or if you all discuss her in her absence. With people like this it is "all about them" and they thrive on drama.  Try and get the FIL to visit alone, as he probably has a hell of a time with her over the visits.  Good luck and don't waste a moment trying to work out how her brain works, you never will.

bopper

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Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 6)
« Reply #104 on: January 02, 2013, 11:06:49 AM »
So she doesn't want to be a grandma.  Your child will grow up thinking that to be "normal" as it will be how her grandmother acts to her.
You are expecting a certain behavior from MIL...so stop that.  Treat her as she wishes to be treated. As long as she is civil and not disrespectful, let it be.