Author Topic: My MIL is driving me crazy! Preparing for next week... UPDATE #57  (Read 21551 times)

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CharlieBraun

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Re: My MIL is driving me crazy! Preparing for next week... UPDATE #57
« Reply #105 on: August 04, 2013, 08:08:49 PM »
Sick of one of the grandchildren....

PA digs.....

Stealing thunder from the "other" grandparents.....

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and this is a person you describe as "nice?"

SB, I really, genuinely, worry for you.  If this person is your yardstick of "nice," then I wonder what it would take for you to classify someone as "not nice."  And that concerns me.

"We ate the pies."

Nemesis

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Re: My MIL is driving me crazy! Preparing for next week... UPDATE #57
« Reply #106 on: August 05, 2013, 03:29:53 AM »
I really hope when you say "she did grumble once or twice about being sick of Bittybabyfast" that the she you mean was the birthday girl and not Grandma.  Because while a an older sibling complaining about their younger sibling is completed understandable, Grandma complaining is not.

Oh, this is pretty constant for her - she makes little half-PA comments (usually after voluntarily spending time with the girls) about how they're running her ragged or how she's ready for a nap.  She doesn't mean any of them, I think, but I really do try not to presume on her on the rare occasions I really did ask her to provide babysitting.  So for the last six months or so, every time she says something about how she's overwhelmed, DH or I step in and take over and don't let her change her mind.  She's doing it less often, now, so I think she's starting to learn that we're sick of having to guess whether her comments are just a ploy for sympathy, a real gripe, or just her being bored and wanting to say something.

You're being too nice. And Grandma is being a narcissistic brat.

My mother does this a lot as well. Her "martyrdom" mode will kick in and she'll start to say how Angel makes her SOOOO tired, and how she needs SOOO much rest after spending an hour or two with Angel. It's just a passive aggressive ploy to make you feel guilty about how much energy she's had to spend, and you're supposed to play your part by grovelling to her. Or fawn over her. Or tell her over and over again how GRATEFUL you are for her help.

She's not being nice. She's being helpful and playing Grandma when it suits her, and turning everything into herself. It's not about you, your DH, or your kids. She probably does love the kids but with a narcissist, it's almost always about herself - what a great grandma she is, what a great MIL she is, what a caring mother she is and how EXHAUSTED she is becoming by a GOOD person to everyone. In short, she's a martyr.

How I handle my mother? Just tell her, "Oh since Angel tired you out so much, I'll give you a break and not come over next week." Or "Oh, you're tired? I see. We'll go home now and give you your well deserved rest". If she's at our house, I'll hand her her bags, open the front door and say "I guess you better go home to rest. I'll see you next week". And then no matter how she protests, we go home, or I'll insist that she leaves. She's learned not to make such comments to me.

And about being helpful - I have learned that genuinely helpful and caring people do not try to forcefully help others and then use passive aggressive comments to force expressions of appreciation for their efforts. It took me a long, long time to learn the difference between true love and care, and drama-queen martyrdom love and care. I hope you learn to see the difference too.

tasryn

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Re: My MIL is driving me crazy! Preparing for next week... UPDATE #57
« Reply #107 on: August 05, 2013, 06:39:26 AM »
Just wanted to write back as this last post about the difference between truly helpful people and "martyrs" is very, very true. Genuinely helpful people are there to help when you ask and they don't expect anything in return except a simple thank you. They don't ask for excessive compliments or ways to justify their martyr behavior. If someone is expecting that, then they aren't being genuinely helpful. They are helping to fulfill a need within them and because that is the case then you aren't obligated to have to do that for them. Also, it doesn't make you a bad person to push back and say no. Just because help is offered doesn't mean you have to take it and it doesn't mean it is always appreciated when something is done for you that you didn't ask for. And you should never have to justify not wanting help for any reason even if it is just that you wanted to have the experience of doing it yourself. The biggest breakthrough for me besides saying no is to stop feeling guilty. I don't feel like a bad person for pushing back anymore because this behavior was having an effect on my marriage and my family and no one's behavior should have that kind of power over you.

Sophia

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Re: My MIL is driving me crazy! Preparing for next week... UPDATE #57
« Reply #108 on: August 05, 2013, 01:04:53 PM »
If I were you, I would do many things.  But, one there is one that hasn't been mentioned. 

You KNOW she is going to try to one-up the things you or your parents do.  So, lie to her about gifts.  In the future, figure out something that your kids could use but no one else is getting.  Then tell MIL that you or your parents are getting it. 
Then, if she gets that, then no problem.  If she says anything you can say, "Well, it is good thing we/they changed our mind since you deliberately tried to one-up it"

wheeitsme

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Re: My MIL is driving me crazy! Preparing for next week... UPDATE #57
« Reply #109 on: August 05, 2013, 05:21:45 PM »
Sick of one of the grandchildren....

PA digs.....

Stealing thunder from the "other" grandparents.....

.
.
.

and this is a person you describe as "nice?"

SB, I really, genuinely, worry for you.  If this person is your yardstick of "nice," then I wonder what it would take for you to classify someone as "not nice."  And that concerns me.

I'm not entirely comfortable painting people like the OP's MIL with a broad brush of, well, all the names folks are calling the OP's MIL.

One of my grandmothers was like this.  Incredibly narcissistic.  Outside of her narcissism she could be very nice.  And she loved us. We all knew her for who she was and interacted with her accordingly. 

People can be incredibly complex paradoxes. 

The OP has said the the MIL/Grandmother is generally nice (outside of certain behaviors that drive her crazy - and rightfully so).  And the OP is very clear on those specific behaviors.  I'd guess that giving the OP advice on how to deal with those specific behaviors would be more productive that trying to convince the OP the her MIL is nasty.

YMMV


Midnight Kitty

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Re: My MIL is driving me crazy! Preparing for next week... UPDATE #57
« Reply #110 on: August 05, 2013, 06:06:52 PM »
The OP has said the the MIL/Grandmother is generally nice (outside of certain behaviors that drive her crazy - and rightfully so).  And the OP is very clear on those specific behaviors.  I'd guess that giving the OP advice on how to deal with those specific behaviors would be more productive that trying to convince the OP the her MIL is nasty.

YMMV
Speaking for myself, it was difficult for me to recognize my mother's manipulative, narcissistic behavior for a long time.  She was so sure of herself and of people's appreciation for her help that I felt like a bad daughter for objecting or even not appreciating when she did something her way which I did not want her to do in any way.  I spent a long time reading other people's stories before I recognized that I wasn't out of line, she was.  Even as a 50+ y.o. adult, it is hard for me to think of my mother as "wrong."

It was a relief to realize that her behavior was not *normal* parenting.  I can not change her, but I can change the way I react to her.  The first and most important step was to protect myself from attack.  But ... as long as I was telling myself that she was a nice, loving, generous mother, I would not be prepared to defend myself and would continue to be surprised by her malicious, manipulative behavior.  In fact, she is partially the inspiration for my sig line - Look things in the face and know them for what they are.

YMMV
« Last Edit: August 05, 2013, 06:08:47 PM by Midnight Kitty »
"The first rule is to keep an untroubled spirit.  The second is to look things in the face and know them for what they are."

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wheeitsme

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Re: My MIL is driving me crazy! Preparing for next week... UPDATE #57
« Reply #111 on: August 05, 2013, 06:36:39 PM »
The OP has said the the MIL/Grandmother is generally nice (outside of certain behaviors that drive her crazy - and rightfully so).  And the OP is very clear on those specific behaviors.  I'd guess that giving the OP advice on how to deal with those specific behaviors would be more productive that trying to convince the OP the her MIL is nasty.

YMMV
Speaking for myself, it was difficult for me to recognize my mother's manipulative, narcissistic behavior for a long time.  She was so sure of herself and of people's appreciation for her help that I felt like a bad daughter for objecting or even not appreciating when she did something her way which I did not want her to do in any way.  I spent a long time reading other people's stories before I recognized that I wasn't out of line, she was.  Even as a 50+ y.o. adult, it is hard for me to think of my mother as "wrong."

It was a relief to realize that her behavior was not *normal* parenting.  I can not change her, but I can change the way I react to her.  The first and most important step was to protect myself from attack.  But ... as long as I was telling myself that she was a nice, loving, generous mother, I would not be prepared to defend myself and would continue to be surprised by her malicious, manipulative behavior.  In fact, she is partially the inspiration for my sig line - Look things in the face and know them for what they are.

YMMV

I'm not disagreeing with knowing who/how someone is.  I think it's a major key to relationships

In our case, we all knew who/how my grandmother was.  We protected ourselves from her narcissistic behaviors.  But she could be, and often was, nice.  A good example is that we appreciated when she was generous with her things, because that was hard for her, but we didn't expect her to be overly generous because it was not in her nature.  She wasn't mean or parsimonious, just not generous. 

And she would storm the battlements and tear anyone to shreds who attacked her family (and only part of that was tied to her narcissism  ;) ). 


BabyMama

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Re: My MIL is driving me crazy! Preparing for next week... UPDATE #57
« Reply #112 on: August 06, 2013, 12:31:41 PM »
I really hope when you say "she did grumble once or twice about being sick of Bittybabyfast" that the she you mean was the birthday girl and not Grandma.  Because while a an older sibling complaining about their younger sibling is completed understandable, Grandma complaining is not.

Oh, this is pretty constant for her - she makes little half-PA comments (usually after voluntarily spending time with the girls) about how they're running her ragged or how she's ready for a nap.  She doesn't mean any of them, I think, but I really do try not to presume on her on the rare occasions I really did ask her to provide babysitting.  So for the last six months or so, every time she says something about how she's overwhelmed, DH or I step in and take over and don't let her change her mind.  She's doing it less often, now, so I think she's starting to learn that we're sick of having to guess whether her comments are just a ploy for sympathy, a real gripe, or just her being bored and wanting to say something.

My mother does this as well. She will keep DD (coming up on 6) for the entire day, and later make PA comments about how exhausted she is. But then she'll keep her overnight/into the next day, insisting that it's fine. She just wants you to know how much wooooooork she's putting forth.  ::)
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JenJay

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Re: My MIL is driving me crazy! Preparing for next week... UPDATE #57
« Reply #113 on: August 06, 2013, 02:11:25 PM »
I really hope when you say "she did grumble once or twice about being sick of Bittybabyfast" that the she you mean was the birthday girl and not Grandma.  Because while a an older sibling complaining about their younger sibling is completed understandable, Grandma complaining is not.

Oh, this is pretty constant for her - she makes little half-PA comments (usually after voluntarily spending time with the girls) about how they're running her ragged or how she's ready for a nap.  She doesn't mean any of them, I think, but I really do try not to presume on her on the rare occasions I really did ask her to provide babysitting.  So for the last six months or so, every time she says something about how she's overwhelmed, DH or I step in and take over and don't let her change her mind.  She's doing it less often, now, so I think she's starting to learn that we're sick of having to guess whether her comments are just a ploy for sympathy, a real gripe, or just her being bored and wanting to say something.

I suspect it's nothing to do with the kids at all, but about, 'Look how much work I put in to help you guys out - I'm exhausted from all the work!'

Exactly. And I bet the response she's looking for is "Oh, MIL, you're so wonderful. Where would we be without you?!"

I think you're handling that perfectly, SB, definitely one for the "Giving P/A people what they want" thread!  ;)