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Impossible MIL - desperate and helpless. :(


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#1 ygirl922

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 10:05 PM

Hi. I'm new here. I actually just signed up, hoping that some stranger out there might read this and offer some advice/perspective/comfort … Anything! This will probably be a long post, and it's about a problem that is very serious to me. I really don't know where else to turn to, so here goes.


I'm a young woman in my early twenties, and I have been in a committed relationship with my boyfriend for almost 6 years now. I won't claim that our relationship is perfect, but we are very happy together. There is one big strain on our relationship, however: my MIL. Well, she's not technically my in-law yet, but I'll be marrying this man one day. And that day, she becomes my mother in law. 


There is a lot to say about this woman, and I won't even try to go into it all. What I can say is that she's had a very difficult life, dealing with tragic losses, and she seems to be struggling with abandonment issues to this day because of it. I have always thought of her as quirky, over-protective and moody, but also very fun and loving. She has told me several times how much she likes me. Unlike my own mother, she has all of her adult children (and a few grandchildren) living within a short driving distance of her home, except my BF who lives an hour away in an apartment together with me. She comes every few weeks to visit. She brings wine and she takes us out to dinner. I don't mind spending time with her (and her very quiet husband) at all, but I think it's a bit too often. I'm a very busy person and I don't necessarily want to spend every other weekend this way, with them sleeping over in our small apartment and giving us no privacy (our bedroom isn't even properly separated from the room where they sleep). In addition to these frequent visits, my BF visits her whenever he gets time off. The few times he goes somewhere else with me for the holidays, she makes him feel bad about it. One summer we decided to spend a week in Greece, and she ordered tickets and followed us there (!). A different hotel a few miles away, but still…! What's extra sad is that my BF doesn't consider himself too close to his mom. He loves her, of course, but he's having difficulties communicating with her and their relationship feels kind of strained to him. This means that I have extra responsibility for keeping the conversation going most of the time she's with us, and it's a huge strain on me. She looks at me when she tells stories and jokes, she looks at me when she asks how things are going with us, she tells me "remember that he's allergic to this and that"…. She calls on late Friday nights and if he's out drinking with his buddies she says things like "you're making sure he gets home safe, right?" etc (with no joking tone). She expects me to be his 2nd mother. She thinks I have some kind of authority over him, when I obviously don't and shouldn't have.


 

Now, I am trying to be patient with this. I'm trying to put myself in her shoes, imagine how abandoned she must feel because of all the tragic losses she went through in her childhood. But I haven't even gotten to the worst part about this, which is: she's trying to control the major decisions in our lives. She throws a tantrum every time my BF mentions moving away to a different city. We have long wished for a change of scenery, to try living somewhere else, because we're not happy at our current location. She does everything in her power to make us change our minds. We already postponed the move for a year, to let her have some time to process the idea of him moving. But she's still against it, and she tries making up excuses all the time. Now, this is generally a difficult decision that involves a lot of stress for inexperienced young people like us: finding somewhere new to live, finding part-time jobs next to our studies, lots of uncertain factors. She's using these factors against us, trying to force us into choosing the "safe path". Because of this, I'm finding it extremely difficult to be strong and confident in my own choices. I'm only 21 and in many ways still new to the adult life. 

 


I've been able to cope so far, but now I feel like it's getting more and more personal. She's earlier told me she likes me and approves of me, so till now, I have found comfort in the fact that the problem is within HER: it is because of HER psychological problems that she's acting this way. I know that, my boyfriend knows that, and she probably knows it herself somewhere deep inside. But she has no contact with reality. She expects her youngest son to be around all the time, one hour drive away. She's suspicious of me and claims that I want to move only to be closer to my own family. I have always had a very special and tight bond with them, but I only see them twice a year because we live so far apart. They are not the main reason why I want to move; but if they were, she out of all people should understand that. But she doesn't, because she only thinks about herself. She now sees me as the big bad wolf who's trying to steal her little baby away just for my own profit, and I feel like there's nothing I can do to change her view on that.

 


I know the standard answers; try talking to her, make your BF talk to her, be strong and confident and try not to care about the way she acts. Well, I've tried talking to her. My boyfriend has tried talking to her. Her husband has tried talking to her. I can't talk to my own parents because despite of all this, I don't want them to judge her/be angry with her. And I don't want them to judge me for my decision to stay with my boyfriend either. There is no getting through to my MIL, because she's developed a kind of personality disorder, and I honestly think this is the way she'll always be. Nowadays, she acts all bitter and resentful every time we meet, and we meet so much more often than I'm comfortable with. The last time we met she started speaking in this very mocking and hurtful voice all these conspiracy theories about how she always knew that my mission was to take her son as far away from her as possible. Saying things like "I know your motives girl, you hide them well, but I always knew your motives" etc. After trying to shake off her remarks, reassure her, ignore her; after trying every trick in the book, I had to get up and go to my bedroom to cry silently. My BF downright told her to shut her mouth and listen to herself, but she just kept on going. Afterwards she pretended it didn't happen, like always.


 

This is getting so bad. I don't want to have a bad relationship with my MIL, but I just don't know what to do anymore. I'm starting to dread the future, having babies, I can only imagine things will get worse then. Breaking up with my BF is not an option, and having him break all bonds with his family is not an option either. How do I live with this? Can anyone even relate to this?



#2 britomart

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 10:30 PM

You are really at a crossroads aren't you?  I am not going to give you a standard answer and I'm not going to tell you to talk to her because you've all done that and obviously it is not working.  Talk is cheap when there are no actions to back up the talk.  I think you need to start distancing yourself from her.  It sounds like she is very controlling and crazy.  I mean, following you and your BF to Greece is not normal and is actually pretty disturbing.  Was your boyfriend alarmed by what she did??  How did he react to it?

 

I think you need to stop talking to her on the phone for a while and stop sharing information with her.  She has too much influence on your decisions - waaay to much influence.  What she thinks about your move shouldn't even be a factor in your decision.  It's just wrong that you put off a move because of her feelings and her crazy behavior.  That says you are letting her control your lives.  Stop sharing information with her and make sure your boyfriend stops sharing so much info with her as well.  It does not good if you stop the info train to her but your boyfriend keeps feeding her with information to get crazy about.  If I were you I would also stop seeing her so much.  You clearly need a break from the woman.  She sounds exhausting. 

 

If the woman tries to call you to discuss a decision or tries to do it in person  you need to end the conversation.  Tell her it's not up for discussion and she has no say in the decision and end the conversation.  And actually, hopefully, you will be ignoring her calls so you won't have to do this. 

 

It also sounds like your boyfriend uses you as a buffer when he has to suffer through visiting his mom.  Stop letting him get away with that!  If he wants to see her then he needs to be responsible for actually talking to her.  I think you should take a break from visiting her with him.  Tell him he can go visit but you are staying home.  Let him be responsible for his relationship with her. 

 

You need to stop reassuring her and coddling her because you are giving in to her manipulation.  That's what the tantrums, pleading, crying and all bizarre behaviors are - they are her means to manipulate you and your boyfriend and you have to stop letting those manipulations work.  If she throws a tantrum end the visit and leave or ask her to leave your home. 

 

I am not going to tell you not to marry your BF but I am going to tell you to put a hold on the wedding plans until you both have a better handle on how to deal with is mother.  You need to make sure he can stop the info train to his mom and stop letting her manipulative behavior control your lives.  If he cannot do that then I do not think he is marriage material.  If he cannot do that then I think you will be doomed to a life where you are constantly controlled by your fear of how your MIL will react and I don't think you want that, do you?  Make sure you are doubling up on protection because the worst thing that could happen right now is for you to get pregnant because someone like your crazy MIL will get 100 times worse when she has a grandchild.  She will try to completely take over your child so before that happens you want to make sure you and your BF can maintain strong boundaries with his mother. 

 

Oh and I have a feeling when you start standing up to her and keeping those boundaries firm and stopping the information train her behavior will get worse.  She will get even crazier to try to control you but that is when you have to stay strong.  If her behavior gets really bad then you may want to consider taking a time out (TO) from her to get a break for your own mental health and to get perspective. 


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#3 ygirl922

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 11:18 PM

Wow, first off, I didn't expect such a quick and thorough answer. Thank you for that!  I truly appreciate you taking the time for that. It is interesting for me to see outside opinions on my problem. I've read several similar threads on various forums, people who are experiencing trouble with their parents in-laws, but the feedback always seems so distant, like the same rules don't apply to me. I guess I'm a very careful person by nature. I've been lucky to grow up in a stable home with parents who never exposed me to harm, and who taught me that the number 1 most important thing in interacting with people is to be polite and to show empathy. That's what I've been doing with my MIL. Even though I've known her for years now, I wouldn't say that I'm close to her - but I do care about her and I feel genuinely sorry for her. At the same time, I absolutely don't want her to be ruling my life or her son's life.

 

The thought of sticking up to her and saying something like "This discussion is over, it's not up for debate", however, scares me a lot. That's never been my way of communicating, but then again, I've never had to deal with someone like this before. So maybe that attitude is just something I need to practice on. When it comes to my boyfriend, I think he has a similar problem. I was impressed with how he stuck up to her last time we met, but he's afraid to hurt her. The Greece thing we laughed about when it happened, she was making up excuses and saying that she'd already ordered the tickets before she knew we ordered ours. She's a chronic liar, and we obviously didn't buy it. It was a "haha, classic her", but then of course we discussed the more serious side of it. If we had told her that we weren't comfortable with it, it would be like you said: she'll get worse. All hell will break loose. I don't think either of us are ready to deal with that right now, as we have lots of stress to deal with otherwise. Today we agreed that we wouldn't tell her about the fact that we might have found an apartment, but she asked upright, and my BF is the worst liar in the world. So then the bomb went off and she started attacking me. 

 

The thought of a time-off sounds tempting indeed. I decided not to join him at his parent's place this easter, and I won't go there this summer either. I'm thinking that if I stay away, she might understand what a mistake she has made by behaving this way. Either that, or she'll just snap and "disown" me. (She has, by the way, already threatened to disown her son if he goes through with the move).



#4 britomart

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 12:01 AM

Generally, I also try to be very empathetic and try to teach my son empathy.  And it's great to empathize with her but that doesn't mean that you give in to her.  My son is 3 and he gets angry and has tantrums and I do empathize with him.  I hold him and cuddle him and tell him I'm sorry that he's sad but I do not give in to him.  The tantrum eventually calms down and he learns that there are boundaries he has to respect.  And I have a question for you, has your future MIL shown you and your BF any empathy?  Clearly she is not showing you empathy by treating you like she does. 

 

I know saying, "This subject is not up for debate and this conversation is over, "is hard.  Believe me I know.  When I first had to start doing it it was really hard.  I didn't think I would be able to do it but I did and while the person got angry, it worked.  The alternative is you end up trying to justify your decision to them and you start arguing and they start thinking that the can influence you and they have a say in your decision.  That's why it is best, with people like your MIL, to not start JADEing (Justify, Argue, Defend, Explain) and to simply tell her she doesn't get a say and you are not discussing the subject.  It's hard at first but it gets easier and you get stronger. 

 

When she starts attacking you it is time to end the visit.  You tell her, "I am sorry you are upset/hurt/whatever.  I can see that now is not a good time for this visit," and then leave.  Don't start arguing with the person or trying to calm them down because then you just end up giving in to their manipulation tactic.  With someone like your MIL you have to show her that you will no longer be manipulated by her nasty and childish behavior.  It can be very similar to dealing with a toddler or pre-schooler who is having a tantrum. 

 

I think you and your BF have a lot of work to do in learning to assert yourselves better and maintaining your boundaries because you simply staying away is probably not going to be enough for her to start saying to herself, "Wow, I've been treating ygirl922 terribly and acting very poorly!  I think I need to start respecting their boundaries."  With someone as nutty as her I think it will take a lot more and you and your BF will have to be a lot stronger.  I suggest you think about taking some pre-marital counseling to talk about your goals and how you see yourselves living your lives.  Counseling is not a bad thing.  My husband and I did a very intensive wekend-long pre-marital counseling class before we got married.  It was one of the best experience of our lives and we grew a lot as a couple and were able to get on the same page about a lot of things. 



#5 PhalenMum

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 12:02 AM

point 1. the cheese done slid off her cracker. Following you to Greece is crazy, like seriously, dollars to donuts the only reason she was not in YOUR hotel was because they were booked otherwise she'd have gotten adjoining rooms.

 

point 2. You two are adults, I know it's scary but she is NOT treating you like adults. She is treating you like two little kids playing house

 

point 3. See that train? That's the Info train and it's one that you and your SO need to stop. She does NOT need to know your plans for today or tomorrow or next year. You plan on taking a vacation, convo should go like this: MIL-"oh where?!" YOU-" Europe". You plan on moving, don't tell her a darn thing because she DOESN'T NEED TO KNOW.

 

My own mother doesn't know that DH and I are working through our plan to move our family of five ( DH 29, ME 29, ODS 6, MDS/YDS 4 and 4) to Scotland. This plan is YEARS from being complete but it doesn't stop us from culling material possessions and getting the financials in order. And it won't stop my mother from going BSC when she finds out. You know how she's going to find out? We're going to call once we're settled otherwise she'll try to insert herself to control the situation


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#6 PhalenMum

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 12:58 AM

By the way you are in no way helpless in this situation unless you ALLOW yourself to be helpless.


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#7 footballmom

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 01:07 AM

ygirl, you have GOT TO get fMIL out of your head.  When you can do this, it is easier to get her out of your life.  Once you can drop the rope, she can be sitting in the same room with you and she will still not "be in your life".  Really, it can be done.  It takes time, it takes not giving one single hoot about what she thinks for a while.  That does not mean you will not care about her, I suspect you will always have "feelings" for her, because your future husband loves her.  The trick is to get her out of your head before those feelings are all bad.

 

You say that you love your family and are close, now you are going to have to figure out how to have that close loving relationship with your family, as a married person and allowing your husband to have the relationship that he wants with his family.  If you can get MIL out of your head, you will be surprised how easy it will be to sit back and watch DH have what he wants with his family.  It may take a few visits where you are daydreaming about your garden, or your job or the last movie you saw, the entire time sitting with a sweet smile on your face and engaging in just enough conversation not to be rude.

 

I would start now having boyfriend visit without you.  But, if you do that, do not question him about every word spoke, about "what she said", and then go off on him if she said something you did not like.  Get her out of your head, let go and stop letting her be the problem in your relationship.  Can you see how much power you are giving her?

 

Stop communicating with her, stop your part of the info train, but do not try to control your boyfriend about what he is "allowed" to tell his Mom.  From someone that has been married 35 years, do not treat him like a child, an idiot.  Just tell him to please not talk about you with Mom, all he should say is "she is fine", beyond that he will learn what to say and not to say, because you are no longer going to deal with her, he is.

 

Just let go, get her out of your head.  It was the very best thing I ever did, for myself and for my marriage, even for my children.


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#8 ImpishMom

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 01:29 AM

I highly recommend the book, "Boundaries".

 

And, therapy. Seriously. You guys could really benefit from a neutral 3rd party to help navigate your way through this. She absolutely needs to let go, and you guys are going to have to demand that it happens, b/c she's not coming to that evolution naturally.

 

Moving is probably the very best option you have. And, if she wants to visit, HOTEL. In fact, that starts now. HOTEL. No more in your home.

 

if your fiance can't get on board w/that, you've got bigger problems than you thought.


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#9 dingoloader

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 03:23 AM

I agree with all the PPs. I will 2nd therapy for you and your boyfriend. It sounds like no kids yet which is good and gives time to get things in order more if you plan to have kids. Things will only multiply insanely when kids are added into the equation... seriously. If your boyfriend isnt willing to go to therapy or "handle it right now" then you need to figure out what YOU will do, are you willing to leave if he refuses everything? Im not trying to put you on the spot or anything just things to think about that even though are very hard... must be thought of. Youve been together this long and its not been addressed even a little more than joking and conversations, now is the time for follow-thru.

 

hang in there. I never had MIL follow me to a foreign country or anything(seriously that is CRAZY) but weve had many issues. DH got therapy at some point, I got therapy, but weve always been on the same page. Thats what the two of you need at least is to be on the same page regarding MIL even if she never changes at least you know he will put his foot down and back you up.



#10 Mame925

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 05:11 AM

You are only 21....and have been in this relationship since you were 15....you need to learn to know who you are and what you want before you can take on the tyrannies of marriage and in-laws. Please take this very slowly and carefully.

 

Counseling for you individually as well as you and the BF as a couple (he should look into some for himself as well)....His mother is toxic and it won't better, it will only get worse.  Regardless of her past, she wants total control of her present and everyone in it.



#11 Layla

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 07:31 AM

I think you need to stop the info train to your MIL.  You do not need to discuss things with her.  It is your life.  Where you choose to live is none of her business, you do not need her approval.  You need to decide with BF if that's what you want to do, start getting it planned and then when it's a done deal tell her that you are moving.  If she wants to cry well then that's her choice.  When you are older do you want to look back and see a life you chose or a life dictated to by someone else.  I also think sleeping over when she is visiting from only an hour away is crazy. Can't they just drive home.  I think you need to put your foot down with your BF in regards to how you are being treated. If she is making direct comments to you in front of your BF that you are trying to take him away then you should calmly get up and say that you won't sit there and be spoken to so rudely and then leave. If BF can't handle it then I don't know what to tell you, it will only get worse not better.  Your MIL is walking all over you and I wouldn't be going to another room and crying I would call her out on her rudeness.  I understand this probably seems horrible to you however you need to deal with her as you would a work colleague or college peer. You don't need to be rude with what you say but assertive enough to let her know you won't sit there and listen to such rubbish. I understand that you need to show respect as it is your BF's mother however you can and should still stand up for yourself.  I myself had a hard time with this early on in my marriage but at the end of the day you shouldn't be subjected to poor treatment and this is how your MIL is treating you.

 

I think most of this should be handled by your BF.  He should be the one to start making some boundaries with his mother. You really need to tell him that his mother shouldn't be sleeping over anymore, to stop some of the information getting to his mother such as plans for the future this should be the two of you deciding, the way she speaks to you and the frequency of her visits.  I would also stop answering the phone if your BF is out and she calls.  I think a large part of the problem is that you say 'I am only 21 and in many ways new to the adult life'.  You are acting like a child with your MIL and she is treating you as one.  You are not new to the adult life - you ARE an adult.  This is your life - don't let someone else dictate your life or make decisions for you, have faith in yourself and if you don't make some great decisions believe in yourself that you will fix them.  Why are you postponing your moving for your MIL?  Stop thinking about your MIL's needs because believe me she isn't thinking about yours, start thinking about where you want to live, how you want to live and go and do it.  Trust me you don't want to waste these years worrying about this woman, don't let her rob you of the joy of the 20's and with her craziness she will.  Give yourself some distance from her, get out there with your friends and have fun, get that career that you want. There are so many more important things to think about at this stage in your life than this woman.

 

If your BF can't or won't change things with his mother then consider this a major red flag and think seriously about committing to this sort of behavior for life.


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#12 ShesaRainbow

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 01:00 PM

Your post sounds very familiar.  About 15 years ago, I could have written it myself!

 

My MIL also dealt with a lot of loss and trauma, and as such, it colored her behavior with my DH, her baby.  She was clingy, couldn't handle not seeing him regularly, wanted input in all decisions, etc.  Your post about the move and her objection to it really rung true.  My MIL freaked, and I mean freaked, when DH and I moved to a house 30 minutes farther from her, because in her words "Now you will have to leave my house 30 minutes sooner when you visit".  She cried, pouted, guilt-tripped, the whole shebang.

 

We spent every holiday with her.  She was lucky because my family lived 14 hours away (driving).  During one holiday visit, she brought up a previous Christmas where DH had spent it without her.  It was way prior to my time, 15 years or so earlier.  Just talking about it, she actually started to cry and hyperventilate at the memory and how painful it was.  I wondered at the time why she even brought it up.  But then I realized, it was her way of preemptively making sure DH and I knew how she would handle any future holidays without him, and to take that option off the table.

 

That said, I was young when we were first dating, and like you, was always taught to respect and be polite.  So I put up with it.  I placated her.  It only brought me heart ache, frustration, and bitterness.  I don't want to sit here and tell you to keep your future DH from his Mother, I certainly didn't.  But I didn't have to let her in my life.  I was polite, sure.  But I kept my distance.  Although it is hard for you to say "this conversation is over" or anything to that degree, it will be easier if you aren't having big conversations with her.  When she wants to come over, make plans with your girlfriends!  Tell future DH to give your regards to his Mom and have a good time. 

 

If it's any consolation, I think it is actually a good thing that you are going through this now.  You are recognizing the bad behavior, and learning what you will and won't tolerate.  Like other posters have said, when you start really settling down, having kids, etc. it will only get 10x worse if the behavior isn't addressed. 



#13 rosered135

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 01:31 PM

Welcome ygirl! And thank you for trusting us with your concerns! I'm so sorry you are facing these problems at so young an age. But then again, as Shesa says, perhaps it's good that you are learning now "what you will and won't tolerate" and how to handle it.

 

It's wonderful, IMO, that you are such an empathetic person! Like brit, that's how I try to be, too, and how I raised my DDs, etc. But there's a point, I think, where empathy needs to stop and independence and self-protection/the protection of your relationship needs to begin. And I think you and BF are way past that point. It's lovely of you to care about how FMIL feels but, as we often say here, you're not responsible for her happiness. Nor can you and BF make choices for your lives, based on how she feels. You 2 need to start making and going through with decisions and setting boundaries, based on what works for you, as individuals and a couple.

 

I get that it's 'scary" to think of telling FMIL that an issue is not "up for debate." But I agree with brit that if you do so, it will work. That is, if you stick to your guns, even if FMIL tries to change your mind about that ("But dear, I only said...")

 At this point, IMO, contrary to "talking to her," you need, I think, to seriously avoid JADEing (justifying, arguing, defending and explaining) and just tell her you'll let her know when all is decided and finalized. It will be hard the first time, I know - BTDT and got the T-shirt to prove it - but it will get easier for you with time (even if she gets worse, for a while, as PPs have said)

 

In fact, I also agree with those who say to stop giving info to FMIL. I know you and BF have begun to try that and that BF spoiled it b/c he (to his credit, really) is "the worst liar in the world." But lies aren't needed, IMO. He merely needs to let FMIL know that you 2 have decided not to discuss this/that issue with anyone till it's settled. Same if she asks you a question. She may rant and rave, yes, attack you and throw a tantrum - and I know all that's very unpleasant. But, in the end, if you stick to that decision, there's nothing she can do. If she pushes, just keep repeating that you're not discussing this/that issue.

 

Granted, I see FBM's point  that it would not be wise or fair to "tell" BF what he is "allowed" to say to his mom or not. But you certainly can discuss this with him and together, come to a decision about how you're going to handle the info problem.

 

Also, I'm going to chime in with those who say to stop letting FMIL and her DH (dear husband - not BF's dad?) sleep over when they visit. But if you and BF find it too hard to set such a limit now, after they've been doing it for a while, then all the more reason why you need to move - and soon. The farther away you are, the less influence FMIL will be able to have.

 

Ygirl, I get you're saying that you're "new" at being adult. So if BF. And it's understandable if you're having a little difficulty transitioning from relating to FMIL as you did when you were kids to an adult way of interacting. I can see that you're starting though and wish you all the luck as you continue to change the patterns.

 

I'm glad you've decided to stay away from her, for a while. Maybe it will make her see things differently, as you say. But, more important, I think it's key to "getting her (and her concerns) out of your head," as FBM suggests.

 

Breaking up with my BF is not an option,

 

Oh, honey, for your sake, I hope it doesn't come to that. But it's only "not an option" if you refuse to do it. I know you love him and have been with him a long time. But if, after some time, you find he can't stand up to his mom and if that interferes with your relationship, then, you may want to rethink that. I know you can't imagine yourself with anyone else, but, I can almost promise you it will be possible to love someone else, someday, if this doesn't work out. You have the opportunity to know b4 marriage whether there's a serious problem here or not, to fix it if you can or walk away. 

 

Again, I hope you don't have to walk away. I hope both you and BF can learn to be stronger and get past this. (((HUGS!)))



#14 SarahMB

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 01:50 PM

You are only 21, you said? You have a lot of life ahead of you, and you can absolutely break up with him over this. Your MIL is a pretty extreme example even for this forum, and it sounds like your BF does not understand its severity. You don't have to be the one to make him grow up.

Go, live your life, find someone else. At the very least, have a few sessions with a therapist. None of what you are describing is normal family behavior. Don't be getting a divorce ten years from now with kids.
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#15 SueSTx

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 01:53 PM

My one thought is...as young collage students, does his parents contribute to the expense of your apartment in anyway? If so, they may feel that they do have the 'right' to stay in your apartment when visiting. If they are not contributing in anyway, it is time for BF to stand up himself.
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#16 SarahCasera

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 02:16 PM

Oh man...she and her husband stay over at your tiny apartment when they live only 1 hour away?!? That is crazy! Almost as crazy as following you to Greece! Seriously, it's clear the woman has zero boundaries and it sounds like your boyfriend isn't quite ready to set them with her. I get the feeling that your boyfriend wants you push him to set those boundaries. I get the feeling that he uses you to pacify and carry out a relationship with his mom. I doubt it's intentional but I think he is expecting you to do the heavy lifting. You need to get yourself out of that role now. 

 

Here's what I'd do....take a nice long break from his mom. You deserve it after the way she treated you this last time you saw her. I'd tell my boyfriend "Just so you know, I'm taking a break from your mom. After the way she treated me last time I saw her, I don't want to be anywhere near her for a good long while. Feel free to hang out with her, but I'm out. I'll see how I feel about her in 3 or so months." Then you follow through. When boyfriend says "Mom is planning on coming over tonight" you say "she's not coming into our apartment, if you'd like to see her, you guys should go out to dinner, remember I'm taking a break from her". It doesn't need to be an argument, it's not something that is up for debate, he doesn't have to make her fix anything - you just don't want to see her for a few months, end of story.

 

I also think it'd be good for you, during this time to not emote for your boyfriend. So when she pulls her ridiculousness, don't get mad, don't say "who does that, what is wrong with her" or anything along those lines. Basically don't engage in "her" drama, because you're taking a break. When your boyfriend complains about her say "I'm really sorry she's treating you that way honey" or "I'm sorry you're upset". Resist the urge to tell him how to fix the relationship.

 

That's where I'd start. I could go on, but I think just taking this small step will bring out all sorts of drama, from your boyfriend and his mom. But in the long run it'll be good. You can show them that you wont spend time with people who treat you like crap and they can work on their relationship. Since you'll no longer be shielding boyfriend from having to do the heavy lifting with his mom, he *may* just get fed up with her crazy all on his own and start setting some real boundaries with her. 

 

The next thing I'd look into is some couples counseling. Make the focus on your relationship with your boyfriend. How you'd like to make decisions together, without outside influence. 

 

I hope that with counseling your boyfriend can lay down the boundaries he needs to really set with his mom but to be honest, the only way I see that happening is if you act. I think you need to distance yourself from his mom in a huge way - basically nothing more than politeness when you're in the same room a few times/year. (Don't worry, this can just be temporary, I think you can have a better and closer relationship with her when you're much older and more confident, say when you're 27, but you can't change the dynamics of your relationship without major change and that's why you need the distance for a long while.) Unfortunately, I see this getting harder for you before it gets easier. I think you'll eventually need to just move on your own (i fear boyfriend won't be able to pull himself away) to some amazing city. Tell your boyfriend that you love him and you want him to come with you but that either way you're going. 


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#17 IgrowGiants

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 02:16 PM

If I do the math correctly, you have been involved with this man since you were 15?  And now, you are thinking marriage.

 

If I may be so bold, let me say this is a time warp experience for me, I met my late husband when I was 15 and married him when I was 21.  And his mother treated me just the way you say this woman treats you and I kept thinking it will get better.

 

It didn't.

 

I'm going to give you the advice my own mother gave me, which I didn't follow, and see if it might work for you.  Get out of the "living relationship" now.  Go back to being just his girlfriend, in a separate living space.  Get back to dating, and only being together sometimes.  Until he is man enough to tell his mother "enough" you will be subjected to this behavior for the rest of your time with him.

 

There is way too much interaction and involvement with his mother and it will not stop until he puts a stop to it.

 

They live an hour away and think it's OK to spend the night????  Good lord, that's horrible. 

 

I thought my late DH was going to be my rock, my safe place and the person I could count on for everything; instead, I got a man who called his mother for every decision he had to make and got her opinion before he even approached me for mine.  I got a woman who actually bought twin beds for us after our children were born because she said we had enough.

 

Think about this long and hard, you may have given your heart and you have tried to give your support; but you are not getting the same in return and you need to protect yourself now.


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#18 missmm

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 03:05 PM

When a big red flag is waving right in your face, pay attention! It is your BF's job to grow up and learn about appropriate bounderies with his mom, your relationship with her is secondary. So learn to stand on your own two feet and wait for him to grow up and be prepared to move on if it doesn't work out. I don't minimize the pain but you can learn from this experience and know what to look for in the next man if your BF can not or will not do the hard work of growing up. If you think it's hard now, it's nothing compared to the pain and heartbreak of living with a future husband who lets his mom run his life and yours.



#19 Mame925

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 03:43 PM

I read this recently and think it may apply here when dealing with this toxic woman:

 

"I don't recall asking your permission for ...."

"I don't recall asking for your advice on ....."

"I don't recall needing you to ...."

"I don't recall giving you permission to..."

 

Feel free to fill in the blanks, could be an eye opener.


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#20 SarahMB

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 04:23 PM

Just reading over the thread more thoroughly, if you want to give this a go, here's what I would suggest:

 

1) Move. Move far away from them.

 

2) Disengage.  No contact from you, no overnights where you live anymore, let DH handle his parents.  Tell him not to share anything about you, and ask that he please cut his mother off when she bashes you and hang up the phone.  Ask him to stand up for your relationship and show you that he can make you a priority.

 

3) Therapy.  For both of you.  He's got a mother with a very distorted sense of what is normal and appropriate, and you both need some help learning how to handle it.

 

Give it a year in which to make a big change.  If things haven't markedly improved, it's time to leave.  You deserve someone who puts you first--and your BF should know that you're serious and that the long term prospects of your relationship are in jeopardy over this.