Author Topic: It's time for a change with FMIL  (Read 6103 times)

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MrTango

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Re: It's time for a change with FMIL
« Reply #15 on: October 17, 2012, 10:26:11 AM »
I think you need to let your DF know how much it bothers you to have your FMIL drop in unannounced and to have her push her advice on you.  Let him know that from now on, you won't be letting her in the house when she drops by unannounced and that if he does let her in the house, then he's responsible for keeping her from bothering you.

As far as inappropriate questions, I think a direct approach is best: "I don't want to discuss that."
If she asks you while other people are around: "That's a very inappropriate thing to be asking about in polite company."

O'Dell

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Re: It's time for a change with FMIL
« Reply #16 on: October 17, 2012, 10:42:30 AM »
Yet another option for her questions: "Oh I think I'll spare everyone the gory details! How bout that local sports team?" (Not bean dip after a TMI question!)

I like TootsNYC's advice about framing it as her helping you. You can even do this if she shows up at your door. "Oh thank you for stopping by but I think today I really need quiet/sleep/funny movies/alone time to recharge and to let my body heal. I don't need any help today."

I find that people back off if you let them know that you are completely comfortable asking them for help and will ask for help from them if you need it. Sometimes people worry that a person will be too stubborn/independent to ask for help. And then do ask for help from them when you need it even if it's a little thing or you could muddle thru on your own. Show them that they don't have to offer help for them to help you out.
Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.
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mj

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Re: It's time for a change with FMIL
« Reply #17 on: October 17, 2012, 11:12:24 AM »
If both your DF and Mother have spoken to FMIL and she still hasn't stopped...I think you are going to have to be very specific and firm with her.  And I don't necessarily mean you, I think DF should handle this.  You have enough on your plate and this can easily be handled by your DF.

FWIW, I've had two friends that told their MILs to call before coming over and both MILs interpreted that to mean to just call and then drive over.  Even if no one answered or they were politely told now is not a good time, both MILs still took the rule to mean is that all they had to do was call before showing up.  Since your FMIL is showing some real problems understanding what you need space for, I think this might be a possibility that she might not understand what call before you come means too.  DF really needs to be crystal clear and firm with her.

I understand that she is trying to help and everyone is reluctant to hurt her feelings, but now is not the time, your health is number 1 and little things like what your FMIL is doing can and should be easily stopped.  If it helps, in my own dealings with people like this is that yes, they are trying to help but not because they just want to help.  They are forcing their own brand of help, regardless of the patients wants, to soothe themselves.  It is with their best interest in mind that they are doing this, not the patients.

ps..I'm so sorry to hear you aren't feeling well and I'm wishing you a speedy recovery!

AfleetAlex

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Re: It's time for a change with FMIL
« Reply #18 on: October 17, 2012, 11:23:19 AM »
I POD TootsNYC's advice and wording. It will make your FMIL feel empowered and like she's helping, and hopefully ease things for you. If not that, then perhaps the 'spoon theory' would work, and you tell her, "today, I'm all out of spoons." (If you're not familiar with that, I'll try to find the threads where it has been discussed, but basically you have a finite amount of energy (spoons) and as you go through the day you give the spoons away in order to handle what's in front of you. And sometimes, you're just out of spoons. Am I summing that up well? Other posters, please correct me if I've misspoken.  :))

And POD to posters who said you don't need to 'host' her when she comes over by getting dressed up and putting on makeup. Just relax and do what's best for you and your health.

And get well soon!!
I have a chronic case of foot-in-mouth disease.

wolfie

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Re: It's time for a change with FMIL
« Reply #19 on: October 17, 2012, 11:28:31 AM »
she doesn't think it's fair that she should have to call before coming to her own son's house and if he doesn't care, then I shouldn't either.


This jumped out at me. "her son's house" - does that mean it was his house and you moved in? I think your DF needs to sit her down and tell her it isn't his house anymore, it is your (plural) house now and she needs to respect both owners. Also that you are not him and it doesn't matter whether he cares if he calls or not - what matter is if the person she wants to visit  wants her to call or not. I would also tell your DF that if his mom can't respect your needs then you need to seriously consider moving out until you feel better. I don't mean that as a threat - I mean that as reality. Being stressed out after each treatment can't be good for you and it might be better for you to move out someplace where you can rest and recuperate fully. If you don't feel like your home is your shelter where you can fully relax then you need to go someplace where you can go.

I think this also highlights problems you will have with her once she becomes your MIL  - she doesn't respect you as your own person and only sees you as an extension of her son. That needs to stop - and the best person to do that is your DF. Good luck - and I hope you get better soon.

Sapphire

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Re: It's time for a change with FMIL
« Reply #20 on: October 17, 2012, 11:31:30 AM »
I haven't read all of your replies, but I can understand where you are coming from. I, too, am undergoing treatments and fully get the need to lounge around after treatments, watch rubbish on TV and not entertain. I think you need to get your DF to speak to his mother again and really emphasise that she can't just drop in. He needs to be really strong about this and not beat about the bush - perhaps even tell her that her forcing herself onto you is stressful and so counterproductive. Could he even get some back up from your healthcare professionals? He can say how helpful she was at the beginning, and perhaps you can agree that you will call her when you are up for a visit? How you are dealing with what you are going through is right for you - there is no one size fits all. My DP is good at running interference for me, and it takes so much stress off. For example I have agreed he can bring his Mum to visit me in hospital today, and I know that means he will ensure the visit is just the right length - like you, it is nice to see her, but I know I can be prepared.

Good luck with your treatments - I hope that you recover well and quickly and manage to sort out the MIL situation.

gramma dishes

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Re: It's time for a change with FMIL
« Reply #21 on: October 17, 2012, 12:48:03 PM »
When you have this conversation with your MIL, start off by saying how much you appreciate her help, of course.


Then say, "As things are changing, I need you ask you for some more help, but I'm afraid this time it's really going to be hard. I might be asking too much--but I genuinely need this help, and you're really the only person I can turn to."

Then tell her that you're feeling both stronger and overwhelmed. That as you are getting more accustomed to the situation, you find that there are many places where you have an emotional need to have the control back. To maintain some privacy about your health and your body. To have some privacy for your fatigue and


Ask her to help you protect your privacy and your cocooning time. Don't make it be about "holing up" or "retreating" or "withdrawing"--think of the most positive description for your instinctive reaction.

Call it "cocooning" and "nesting"; emphasize "privacy" and "dignity"; call it "healing solitude" and "self-sufficiency."

Explain how it helps you heal, helps you get strong. How the quiet and the lack of stress from having someone around are very powerful.

And then ask her to help you protect that. Ask her to check whether you're cocooning or ready to emerge, before she comes over.

Make it be about how she is helping you, and not about how she is doing something wrong.

Make it be about what you DO want (solitude; peace; cocooning) and not about what you DON'T want (no people, no her, no interruptions).

As for her asking for details, etc., especially in front of other people, develop two phrases. One for when you're alone that emphasizes your desire for privacy regarding your medical details ("MIL, I'm going to start keeping these health details private again--if only because talking about it just stresses me out."

And in front of others, don't have any hesitation about saying that this is a gross topic for you to discuss in front of acquaintances: "MIL, this is neither the time nor the place for this discussion. I don't wish to discuss this in front of other peope. Please don't ask anymore."

Toots' approach is interesting and may just work since you have already established a solid, good and loving relationship with her.  Your situation isn't really about a "meddlesome" MIL.   It's about one who's perhaps over concerned and over eager to help in the only ways she knows HOW to help.  Toots' suggestions could show her  new (to her) possibilities as to what might be "better" ways to help you right now.

bopper

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Re: It's time for a change with FMIL
« Reply #22 on: October 17, 2012, 01:20:42 PM »
Ideas (some have been mentioned before)


1)  Just don't put on makeup and do lounge around.

2) Tell her you are not up for talking and will just be dozing and watching TV.

3) Give her a list of things to do and then tell her you need to take a nap.

lilfox

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Re: It's time for a change with FMIL
« Reply #23 on: October 17, 2012, 03:20:55 PM »
Sorry you have to be dealing with this, it's probably adding a lot of stress you don't need.

If you weigh your discomfort with letting her in for 5+ hours to "help" while you resent her intrusion against your more temporary discomfort of not letting her in when she shows up unannounced, I'm guessing not letting her in is the more peaceful strategy.  Personally I can imagine seething quietly just because another person is occupying my space, no matter what she's doing.  Let's say you had a regular housekeeper, someone where there isn't a major emotional involvement, little chit-chat, and definitely not trying to 'baby' you, you probably still wouldn't want that person around while you're feeling tired and out-of-sorts.

Since her help is not helpful, I think JenJay's and Mr Tango's approach is probably best, prefaced by one more conversation with her where you and/or DF state CLEARLY that she must call ahead and ASK, not tell, about coming to visit.  Then never let her in unannounced, and when she learns to call ahead, only accept those offers of help when you feel you could really use the help. 

Some other options to deflect future questions:
"You know, I really don't feel like talking about it right now"
"Oh, I'm so tired of discussing symptoms, let's talk about something else"
"How about something more fun for everyone?"

LeveeWoman

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Re: It's time for a change with FMIL
« Reply #24 on: October 17, 2012, 03:46:36 PM »
she doesn't think it's fair that she should have to call before coming to her own son's house and if he doesn't care, then I shouldn't either.


This jumped out at me. "her son's house" - does that mean it was his house and you moved in? I think your DF needs to sit her down and tell her it isn't his house anymore, it is your (plural) house now and she needs to respect both owners. Also that you are not him and it doesn't matter whether he cares if he calls or not - what matter is if the person she wants to visit  wants her to call or not. I would also tell your DF that if his mom can't respect your needs then you need to seriously consider moving out until you feel better. I don't mean that as a threat - I mean that as reality. Being stressed out after each treatment can't be good for you and it might be better for you to move out someplace where you can rest and recuperate fully. If you don't feel like your home is your shelter where you can fully relax then you need to go someplace where you can go.

I think this also highlights problems you will have with her once she becomes your MIL  - she doesn't respect you as your own person and only sees you as an extension of her son[/size]. [/b] That needs to stop - and the best person to do that is your DF. Good luck - and I hope you get better soon.

I cannot emphasize that enough.

TootsNYC

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Re: It's time for a change with FMIL
« Reply #25 on: October 17, 2012, 03:47:49 PM »
I have a wonderful, loving and generous MIL who often has a very different sense of boundaries than I do. I can absolutely see me in your shoes.

I found that when I wanted her to stop nagging me about what I'd eaten at her house, it worked best when I said to her, "Please believe that you have made me comfortable in your home. I feel welcome and loved here. I feel that I can ask for food if I'm hungry, and that I don't need to stand on ceremony. You have succeeded in that. And now please believe that if I don't eat something, it is because I don't actually want it. If I am hungry, I promise you, I will ask, or I will reach for seconds.
   "But I've discovered that when you bring up having more food, it actually makes me feel *less* comfortable. It defeats your purpose. So please don't pressure me about eating more."

It worked!

Nebraska Jones

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Re: It's time for a change with FMIL
« Reply #26 on: October 17, 2012, 10:00:19 PM »
First off ***HUGS***

I was in a situation similar to yours with a "nice" MIL when my DH and I were newlyweds.  We told her our wishes of her not showing up whenever she wanted (much less with her friends) and just walking in.  She didn't care because "you don't have to follow the rules with family."  We changed our locks and just stopped answering the door.  If she called later saying she showed up we would say, "Oh, what a shame you didn't call first we could have let you know we weren't up for visiting, unavailable, taking a nap, shell posting, etc."  It took my DH talking with her and her showing up about 4 times but she finally got it.

I can't say it wasn't painless but it was 100 times better than dealing with her boundary stomping behaviors.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2012, 08:50:57 PM by LittleBlueBird »

TealDragon

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Re: It's time for a change with FMIL
« Reply #27 on: October 18, 2012, 10:56:14 AM »
When you have this conversation with your MIL, start off by saying how much you appreciate her help, of course.


Then say, "As things are changing, I need you ask you for some more help, but I'm afraid this time it's really going to be hard. I might be asking too much--but I genuinely need this help, and you're really the only person I can turn to."

Then tell her that you're feeling both stronger and overwhelmed. That as you are getting more accustomed to the situation, you find that there are many places where you have an emotional need to have the control back. To maintain some privacy about your health and your body. To have some privacy for your fatigue and


Ask her to help you protect your privacy and your cocooning time. Don't make it be about "holing up" or "retreating" or "withdrawing"--think of the most positive description for your instinctive reaction.

Call it "cocooning" and "nesting"; emphasize "privacy" and "dignity"; call it "healing solitude" and "self-sufficiency."

Explain how it helps you heal, helps you get strong. How the quiet and the lack of stress from having someone around are very powerful.

And then ask her to help you protect that. Ask her to check whether you're cocooning or ready to emerge, before she comes over.

Make it be about how she is helping you, and not about how she is doing something wrong.

Make it be about what you DO want (solitude; peace; cocooning) and not about what you DON'T want (no people, no her, no interruptions).

As for her asking for details, etc., especially in front of other people, develop two phrases. One for when you're alone that emphasizes your desire for privacy regarding your medical details ("MIL, I'm going to start keeping these health details private again--if only because talking about it just stresses me out."

And in front of others, don't have any hesitation about saying that this is a gross topic for you to discuss in front of acquaintances: "MIL, this is neither the time nor the place for this discussion. I don't wish to discuss this in front of other peope. Please don't ask anymore."

Oh, I like this a lot! I think this will be really effective. If it's not, I'll make sure DF has a much stronger talk with her. I know he is on the same page as me and he is frustrated with her too. He just isn't always the most tactful person ever, so I've kind of held back on asking him to talk to her because I'm worried that he won't be able to talk to her about it without getting too frustrated and then pushing her away too much and hurting her feelings.

She doesn't have a key and we don't have a door bell, however, my cat has decided that the blinds right next to the front door are simply delicious and tore off part of them for a snack, so FMIL just stands there and knocks for a while and then peeks in and can see the whole living room and that I am in fact home and on the couch and then she wants to be let in and will call out to me through the window. I usually try ignoring and faking sleep first. We are planning on getting new blinds, but it's taken a bit of a backseat recently...nobody else sticks their face up to the window to see if we're home, so it hasn't seemed like a huge issue. I feel terrible about just ignoring her or sending her away...she drives about 30-40 minutes to get to our house. I realize that is her choice to take the risk that it's a waste of time, but I still feel bad about it.

Thank you all for the well wishes on my health and hugs. Things are definitely improving, and in time, I expect this to be a very easily manageable condition. I also actually got a good news phone call from my horse's vet this morning, so things are looking up. Yesterday might have been a slightly melodramatic day.  :P


greencat

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Re: It's time for a change with FMIL
« Reply #28 on: October 18, 2012, 12:16:53 PM »
1) Do the college student thing and tape paper/pin a blanket over the window.
2) Can you avoid telling her when your treatments are scheduled?  If they're scheduled for a routine day, can you try rearranging things so they're not on that day anymore?
3) You need to have a simple boundary-setting conversation with your MIL Why go through all the verbal dancing that denies that MIL's behavior has been boundary trampling?  Tell her "MIL, I don't feel up for having you over after I've had my treatments, and I don't want to continue discussing all of my medical issues, especially when you bring them up in public." 
Next time she shows up, tell her "I told you I don't feel up for having you over after treatments.  I'll see you when I'm feeling better," and shut the door - don't let her in!  When she brings up medical issues, repeat, "I told you we wouldn't be discussing that anymore."  Walk away if she keeps hounding you.

trailgrrl

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Re: It's time for a change with FMIL
« Reply #29 on: October 18, 2012, 01:20:33 PM »
In the short term, instead of blinds, try this window film.   I use it on my bathroom windows rather than window treatments.  if it's applied correctly it looks like it's really frosted glass (if that is the one you choose, some of the faux stained glass is nice too.)

http://www.lowes.com/Home-Decor/Window-Treatments/Window-Film/_/N-1z11os1/pl

But yeah, don't feel bad your FMIL drives 30-40 minutes to your home uninvited.  That is her choice, she's been warned and is ignoring your wishes.  Go to the Hardware store, I think it takes about 20 minutes to properly apply the film.  It's been on my windows for 8 years now.