Inlaws playing games re: a new baby. Advice please?

Discussion in 'Countryside Families' started by jen74145, Feb 20, 2008.

  1. jen74145

    jen74145 Well-Known Member Supporter

    Oct 30, 2006
    Northern California
    I had a detailed post typed out, but decided to cut it down. I am in need of cooler, perhaps experienced heads on this one.

    My MIL has always played games with her children, playing favorites and attempting to pit them against their father, which caused all kinds of problems for DH until he was fifteen and moved in with his dad and found out he was nothing like the monster MIL had described. Dh's dad is great and we both adore him. He is all kinds of excited about the baby. :)

    Well, her games have reared their head again and this time she used my unborn baby as a pawn. I am seriously considering calling her up and telling her if she wants to see this baby she will stop trying to hurt her son to get her way and never involve my child in her selfish little games ever again... it's ridiculous and she has no compunctions about toying with little children whatsoever, and I think I might explode if she tries it once my baby is here. Since her last stunt she hasn't called in a month but once the baby is born it will be an entirely different story. She definitely likes to play Mommy, know what I mean?

    I don't know whether to let it lie and pretend nothing happened or call her on it. Blah... at least DH's stepmother is normal.
  2. sancraft

    sancraft Well-Known Member

    Jun 7, 2002
    I would never let anyone "toy" with my children. If you want to see the momma lion come out of me, mess with my children. I would tell her now to get her stuff straight of get the heck on.

  3. triana1326

    triana1326 Dances in moonlight

    Feb 13, 2006
    Still in Maine...
    I too am going through a bunch of carp that my MIL is doing and am also pregnant. My advice - lay down the law now. It gets much harder to enforce a rule or visitation after you've let it slide for a while. DH has already told her that she is NOT invited to the birth, that they will NOT be camping out in their RV in our driveway for three months like they did with my 2 poor SILs when they had kids, and they WILL respect our privacy by not dropping in unannounced as they have done in the past. MIL is playing the guilt trip game now, but so far it's working...Make sure that you and your DH are on the same page and stand up for yourselves now, or she'll walk all over you later...Good luck and stay sane!
  4. Katrina26

    Katrina26 Well-Known Member

    Nov 18, 2007
    Between Finland and GA-USA
    I'd call her up and tell her what you were going to say. She sounds like she likes to ride high on the horse but she needs a verbal knockdown to the ground.

    MIL pitted her kids agaist each other when they grew up. Two are alcoholics now and the boys can't even be in a room together. They don't get along at all as they've gotten older, and rarely speak to each other. MIL now can't understand why her family is fractured.

  5. watcher

    watcher de oppresso liber

    Sep 4, 2006
    Simple, my house, my kid, MY RULES. Don't like it then don't expect to see any of us again.

    My mom and dad had a rule with my brother and sister which was the parents rules didn't apply when the kids were at the grand's house. Before our first was born I told them that our rules applied everywhere and if they were not willing and able to live with that then the only times they'd see the grand kids was at our house. They agreed in a flash and even followed up on it, mostly.
  6. Rockytopsis

    Rockytopsis A & N Lazy Pond Farm Supporter

    Dec 29, 2007
    East Tennessee
    If she is close enough to you for a face to face I would do it in person. Have her over to YOUR house and then tell her very quietly and firmly how it is going to be with your child. Make sure your DH is in agreement though and standing beside you.
  7. Kstornado11

    Kstornado11 Well-Known Member Supporter

    Mar 17, 2006
    What Sancraft said. Life is too short to waste time on poisonous people.Try not to let her get to you,especially now that you're expecting.
  8. hintonlady

    hintonlady Well-Known Member

    Apr 21, 2007
    better to resolve it sooner than later. At least now the baby is not old enough to feel the full extent of the drama.

    That way if it does not go well you will know before child gets wrapped up in it.

    If it goes well you have time to see if there is a relapse.

    Judge by actions not words/promises.

    This is your child and it is your choice, you only have to put up with what you want, so decide what you want and stick to your guns.

    Emotional abuse is still abuse.
  9. mary,tx

    mary,tx Well-Known Member Supporter

    Dec 4, 2002
    It's hard to give an opinion without knowing what you are talking about.
  10. Jennifer L.

    Jennifer L. Well-Known Member Supporter

    May 10, 2002
    New York bordering Ontario
    I wouldn't call now. It's like training a dog, you don't want to let any time go by before the correction. Let her do whatever it is she's known for one more time, and then do not wait, hit her hard with it. You are going to get the best effect from doing it this way from ALL parties involved, not just her. By doing it now, to others it looks like you might be over reacting, or making a big deal out of something that wasn't. If you wait until it's fresh in everyone's minds exactly what she's capable of, you'll do better.

  11. Ardie/WI

    Ardie/WI Well-Known Member Supporter

    May 10, 2002
    I agree 100% with Sancraft.

    My Mother Dearest played games all her life. To this day, I regret exposing my children even once to her horrible behavior.

    When you speak with this woman, do it with your husband at your side.
  12. Tracy Rimmer

    Tracy Rimmer CF, Classroom & Books Mod Supporter

    May 9, 2002
    Manitoba, Canada
    Jen, BTDT. Nip it in the bud. Now. And make sure your DH is beside you doing the same thing. Now.

    Trust me on this. The important bit is "now". It never gets easier, and the effects are never going to be less explosive. She WILL try to use the situation of your telling her to cut it out to her advantage, she will continue to attempt to drive stakes between family members, and do not think she can't cause problems in your marriage -- she can.

    Get a book for your DH (and you read it, too) called "Children of the Self-Absorbed". I forget the author right now -- it's available on amazon. Another good one is "Toxic In-Laws". These two books helped me understand the dynamic of my husband's family, and helped him understand that he COULD do something about it.

    (who is now living happily ever after)
  13. unregistered29228

    unregistered29228 Guest

    Jan 9, 2008
    I agree she needs to be told off, but I suggest your hubby do it. That's worked for my hubby and me for 20+ years...I deal with my family and he deals with his. That way I'm not the bad guy with my inlaws, and vice versa.

    Plus it shows that you two are a united front, unable to be manipulated and divided.
  14. ginnie5

    ginnie5 wife,mom,taxi driver,cook Supporter

    Jul 15, 2003
    Near Charlotte NC
    I agree 100%. My mothe is like that...she just loves to keep something going on. She doesn't have our house # or cell#'s due to her games. She even pulls her mess on my disabled sis who is just too tenderhearted to stand up to her. Makes me furious! I put up with her games until she started them with my kids. Then she got her warning, which she ignored. I guess when someone is allowed to act like that their whole life and get away with it change is not something they're going to do.
  15. MarleneS

    MarleneS Well-Known Member

    Aug 21, 2003
    It sounds like your mother-in-law enjoys nothing better then to keep things stirred up, the best lesson you can teach her and make your point is to NOT play into her attention getting games. That would require not responding to her nonsense unless it is absolutely necessary.

    Just keep telling your self that you are not going to lower yourself down to her standards by allowing her to anger or upset you - remind yourself that YOU will be the bigger person for it. If push comes to shove and she will not take no for an answer, simply say something like, "I'm sorry, but I have made the decisions on how my husband and I are going to raise my child, and it's not open for discussion." -- If she still get's pushing, simply smile and say something liken, "I'm sorry, but if you think I am going to lower myself down to those standards inorder to better communicate with you, you are sadly mistaken."

    DO NOT give her even a hint that you are okay with any of her nonsense because that will be like adding fuel to her fire.

    Good luck,
  16. Jan Doling

    Jan Doling Well-Known Member

    May 21, 2004
    Zone 9b
    Start out the way you mean to go....type out a list of rules (not suggestions, RULES) that must be followed and give them to her. You can soften the blow by saying everyone else will get the list, too). Then post the list on the front door when the baby is born. That way no one will be coming by unannounced, etc.

    I am adding this from Miss Manners, in case you want the more polite approach:

    Dear Miss Manners,
    I'm pregnant with my first child and I am having a problem with two family members. On my husband's side of the family, there is a relative that is constantly giving me advice that is not accurate medically (maybe 50 years ago they believed that any stretching was bad and breastfeeding was wrong, but that's not correct according to modern medicine). I'm not sure how to handle this constant advice that goes against everything my doctor says, all of the pregnancy books and my beliefs.
    Also, how do I handle members of my family that want to visit from far away at the time of my child's birth? My husband and I don't want the stress of being a host and just want to enjoy the birth of our baby and get to know him for the first few weeks. Why do older members of the family think that they should be entitled to be at the birth of your child?
    Gentle Reader,
    To answer your last question first, they are entitled. This is not only your child, the way your car is only your car and you can refuse people who want to borrow it or even ride in it. This child is their relative, and they are entitled to meet him.
    Miss Manners is not advising you to go to the other extreme. You don't have to invite them to watch the birth or to move in with you those first few weeks. You merely have to tell them when would be a good time to drop by for an hour or so to see the baby. (And since you are sensitive to implied criticism, it will save you from listening to family rumors that there is something terribly wrong with the child that you must keep him hidden.)
    These people are also entitled to give you advice. And you are entitled to thank them for it and then ignore it.
  17. Ann-NWIowa

    Ann-NWIowa Well-Known Member Supporter

    Sep 28, 2002
    My m-i-l gave me lots of grief when I was pg and after ds was born. I was only 18 and pretty much took it and cried about it later. Dh got fed up with her games and one evening we were at their home eating dinner when she started up, dh did not say a word, got up from the table, went and got our coats and the diaper bag, came back to the kitchen and said get up we're going. No fight, no discussion, she got the point. The key was her darling-perfect-never could do wrong in her sight-son stood up to her for his wife and his son so she knew immediately the game was up.
  18. Selena

    Selena proud to be pro-choice

    Jun 25, 2005
    a state in the 21st century
    Your DH is a keeper -- until the child of the "offending" parent puts his or her foot down, nothing will change. BUT you can make your own rules quite clear and enforce them. This may mean you take the baby everywhere and if they show up unannounced you take the baby and leave, so be it.
  19. Lizza

    Lizza Well-Known Member Supporter

    Nov 30, 2005
    Ditto and Ditto. I've already wasted too much time trying to placate people to "keep the peace". NO more. Speak up now.
  20. Use Less

    Use Less Well-Known Member Supporter

    Nov 8, 2007
    western New York State
    Consider whether telling her (anything) will make a difference in her behavior. Which is what you want. Venting often only feels good in the moment. I would definitely go with the face-to-face conversation, with husband in the house if not in the conversation. Probably better to tell her what you will ALLOW her TO DO, not what she can't do. Tell her with sad voice & sad face that you would hate to deprive your child of a loving relationship with a grandparent, but you will make that decision if driven to it. Good Luck! Sue