Narcissistic MIL and Grandchildren Part I

Management of the MIL takes on a whole new level when grandchildren appear of the scene. The overriding priority when dealing with MIL and her interactions with her grandchildren, your children, is what is best for the kids. Remember that as you reflect on your own experiences and read through a few of mine. I haven’t always got this right but of all the interactions I have had with my MIL the ones concerning my children are those which I feel most sure of. My instincts kicked in early on and I have never really given a damn if she disagrees or disapproves of my childrearing. My kids, my rules, suck it up MIL.

Narcissistic grandmotherly interventions start with the announcement of any pregnancy. There are predictable responses that a narcissistic MIL may select from. First is jealousy that the pregnancy will take attention away from her. She may choose to minimise or ignore the pregnancy or suddenly develop some health problem or other crisis in her life to get some attention back on herself. Alternatively she may decide to take over the pregnancy and give all manner of advice and opinions solicited or not, research the best birthing methods, the best baby equipment, even invite herself along to the hospital on the day and right into the delivery room.

My MIL opted for the first approach and after being told we were having a baby (her first grandchild) she refused to discuss it or get excited “in case something goes wrong” which was a very tactless thing to say to a woman expecting her first child. This lasted the full nine months. Every time she visited or spoke to my husband on the phone any news about the pregnancy was deflected and dismissed. After the birth she managed to say “congratulations” literally that one word to me and nothing else. No enquiries about how the birth went or a chat about how lovely the baby was, nothing. As I mentioned before in the section on abuse amnesia she refused to even hold the baby on her first visit which she made sure was only brief and spent the entire time moaning about her own mother whom she had been visiting, she saw us on the way back from her mother’s, we were not the priority that was clear enough.

I have heard tales from others with and NPD MIL about how they completely dominated the whole pregnancy with their interference. From buying the right vitamin pills, insisting on certain doctors only at certain hospitals, trying to use money to buy the treatment they wished for their DIL, trying to dictate the birthing method and environment, even inviting themselves to be the poor woman’s birth partner. Thank God I never had to deal with that. Her disinterest was a relief to be honest. Pregnancy is a vulnerable enough time without extra pressure from someone you dislike trying to control your every move.

There was one incident with my second pregnancy which to this day is a sore point but that was more to do with my husband than with the MIL. She knew the pregnancy had been hard, ten weeks of twenty four hour a day “morning” sickness, pelvic girdle pain, an unexpected bleed and admission at 31 weeks, then a sudden concern about my blood sugar and the babies growth rate (high) led them to put me on a special diet for the last four weeks and demand finger prick tests six times a day.  MIL decided she wanted to come and help by staying for four days when I was 38 weeks pregnant. I felt ill at the very thought. She graciously told me she wouldn’t be offended if I wanted some time to myself, in my own house, when nine months pregnant. Offended. As if my overriding concern at that time was if I was causing her offence. Mercifully the doctors decided to induce the baby early. I was so disgusted that my husband had joined in an applied pressure on me to allow his mother her chance at “helping” rather than do what was best for me which was to arrange an easy and relaxing last couple of weeks of the pregnancy. It rankles me to this day.

Having declined to show any interest in our newborn child the first time, she arranged her own special visit a couple of weeks later. This was when she started to accelerate her interest in the baby. First she insisted on buying some clothes she thought we would need. Then some more, then toys. Then she came every two to three weeks for the next six months. Each time the baby was bought more and more stuff. A lot of it was second hand from charity and thrift shops. Piles of stuff wholly unsuitable for the baby like a gardening set when she was three months old. She wanted to be the grandparent who bought all the significant items. Upon hearing that we had taken the baby to get her first pair of shoes she sent a cheque covering the cost (which I never cashed), as she wanted to buy them.

Not content with buying everything she could lay her hands on she also indulged in competitive parenting. Shades of anything you can do I can do better. For example our daughter sat playing with a jigsaw and her grandmother had to show her the correct way to do it, offering a running commentary the whole time on how she was educating the child through her interference. She went on to relate how she had done this sort of thing with my husband and SIL and then with sickeningly sweet coyness practically fluttered her eyelashes and remarked how of course not all parents did this (as she glanced across at me), maybe it was just her. The implication was clear, that somehow I was not stimulating the child sufficiently. She even commented to me that I had a much lower level of interaction with the baby than my husband did because I just sat watching the five month old play with her toes one day rather than talk to her. That I spent all day, everyday with the baby and therefor hardly needed to be constantly in the child’s face evidently did not occur to her.

One other issue over which MIL had an epic sulk was the naming of our daughters. The first was not a problem, the second was. We had first heard her unusual name when my husband started lecturing a course for a professor at his lab who had that name. We both liked it and called our second daughter after this professor, a lovely and successful woman. When MIL heard it she sulked. She assumed we had chosen it because it was also the name of her ex-husband’s aunt, a fact she was aware of as she extensively researches family trees in the belief that she is descended from aristocracy. Neither of us had any idea that we had chosen an old family name. My FIL has a large family on one side, seven aunts and uncles and he is not terribly forthcoming about these things. He only mentioned it to us some weeks after the child had been born and named. Apparently MIL had been hoping we would somehow just know that she wanted us to choose her mother’s name or her own name. The old telepathy trick again, expecting mind reading and getting upset when it doesn’t happen.

These behaviours are irritating but not dangerous or damaging. There are ways in which narcissistic grandmothers can behave that do actually tip into worrying. Outright disobedience of any rules you make regarding your children is one of these. This is a concern for several reasons. Firstly it is a continuation of her disrespect and attempts to control you and your other half, it is about power not love. Second it undermines you as parents in front of your children showing them that your rules do not need to be obeyed. Lastly it can be dangerous if your rules are designed to ensure your children’s safety.

The next post will cover some of the more concerning behaviour you may experience from a narcissistic MIL and what to do about them.


Filed under Communication problems in NPD, Controlling behaviour, Describing narcissism, Effects of NPD on others, Examples of narcissistic behaviour, Manipulations, narcissistic mother, NPD MIL and grandchildren

23 responses to “Narcissistic MIL and Grandchildren Part I

  1. Lfata

    I love your blogs. I unfortunately had the intruding MIL giving advice and shaming me for having an episiotomy. Yes, this happened….she ” had eight kid and never had a stitch”. All I could think was congratulations…don’t even get me started on the naming of my children and the not breast feeding. It made the whole thing kind of a nightmare. Later, I got a lecture about how all of her children were potty trained at 1. Why would someone make that up? That is such a lie.

    • Lfata, oh goodness, she even has a superior vagina to yours! That made me laugh out loud. I have never met a potty trained one year old, never mind eight of them. I think people with NPD actually believe their lies. They have highly selective memories.

    • Jennanonymous

      Omg! My MIL literally made up that same lie!! That my husband and his brother were potty trained by their first birthday. Such a lie, their childhood photo albums are proof.

  2. Lfata

    It’s so unbelievable the things I put up with. I was young though, only 20 when I had my first. I just blindly did what I was told. They dictated to me what to name my child and I did it. I refused for my second child though…to this day I am the person that “broke the tradition”. I broke it with my third and fourth too. It’s a learning curve.


    Thanks FCW for this post. I think it will be so helpful to people. It’s one thing to have a NMIL (or NM) but it’s a whole other level of stress when your children are involved.
    I thought things were bad when my children were born, but they’ve only gotten worse as my children have started to develop their own personalities and become less narcissistic supply to them.
    My MIL harped on me for YEARS to have grandchildren. She felt it was divined from God that her oldest son would have her first grandchild, so she harped on me and told my SIL that she couldn’t have a child until after I did. When she came to the hospital (after I nearly died) the only thing she said to me was “Are your nipples sore from feeding? Mine were.” Gross. She then asked if my bathrooms needed cleaning; she didn’t ask WHAT she could help with, but assumed my house must be a mess. She was all weird and trance like at the hospital. After the birth, she was pushy about visiting and told my FIL to tell my DH, who was to tell me that I was going to spend the day with her. NO way! One day, she had the nerve to tell me my 2 month old had her MIL’s “unfortunate nose”. She’s lucky I didn’t deck her. She vacillates between being overly involved (when she is our presence) and almost ignoring the kids when they are not around. She is unfair with my children and prefers the older one.
    I’m unfortunately “blessed” with an NM too and a Nsister. NSis created TONS of crisis before my children’s births. And NM took the opportunity to complain about how difficult my pregnancies were on her (I also morning sickness 24 hours a day for 20 weeks). When I almost died giving birth, NM got upset because I hadn’t called her to let her know I was in labor (I had an emergency C-section within an hour of arriving at the hospital. Even if I had been able to call in that time, I was in horrendous pain. And she turns her phone off at night.) When my second child was born, she was complaining about how hard it had all been on HER again, and the nurse had to tell her to knock it off. She then spend 5 days “helping” me (by complaining, acting like she was my hero, acting jealous of my husband, and invading my privacy.) She also spent a small fortune on clothes and toys for my kids and would be offended if I wasn’t “grateful” enough.
    I, again, thank you for writing this post. So much of it sounded exactly like my experiences. I look forward to Part 2.

  4. have annoying mother in law

    How about MIL telling you that you are going to get pregnant soon and that she’s not in rush to have a grand kid in next 9 months. NPD! As if it’s s catering order, put it in the fridge we will pick it up later? That woman makes my blood boil. So cunning, sweeter than sugar on the face, sharper than knife on behind. Grandchild is their’s actually, parents are just some strangers, dum, ignorant enough not to know about raising their baby. And yes if the grandchild runs outdoors in the dirt and specially in filthy water bear feet than its also fine! Fungus and ringworm are just a joke, kids supposed to be kids and enjoy playing with water, food, dirt are all part of their growing experience regardless of numerous times every day, or I should say, all day. Oh yea, babies don’t need to eat actually, it’s their mothers job and its possible when greedy grandma or grandpa hands over the baby to the parents. And yeah let the baby walk anywhere outdoors, I guess the whole world knows this baby belongs to who and they are not going to let the baby go out of their sight. Of you have one of these, then run away as far as you can with your kids. It’s really about power, authority, and greed for money. Grandparents like this should only see their grandkids through internet. They don’t love their own kids to begin with, if they do, they would respect your concern and should listen.

    • NPD grandparents can be dangerous and neglectful. Sounds like you have got one of these to deal with. You are so right that it is about power, authority and greed. Love has little to do with it. Keep the kids safe, that is what counts.

  5. Anonymous

    Oh my this is all so exhausting. Wow. Well, when I had my first child, NMIL & SIL unbeknownst to me were on their way to the hospital. The nurse came into my room and said: “Your mother and sister are here. Would you like to see them?” I thought it was actually MY mother and MY sister. I am sure MIL lied to them. They proceeded to “hang out” while I was in labor and in extreme pain. When it became obvious that I was going to deliver, they left the room. When the baby was born, NMIL came back in the room and had to announce that she had been watching the birth the whole time via a reflection on the window?! Talk about an invasion of privacy?! SIL proceeded to tell me what was happening on a TV episode of a show we both were watching/keeping up with each week?! SIL never even really seemed fazed that she just became an aunt for the first time?! I chalked it off to she’s young, in high school. Now I chalk it up to her EXAMPLE and sick disordered MOTHER. I have 2 children now. MIL favors my oldest and basically ignores my youngest. Been through all the BIG gifts, piles of clothing (really nice expensive stuff) when they were young. I look back and think how did I manage to get through it? Been there, done that. Low/minimal contact is the only way.

  6. Kate

    I am so glad I have found your blog; it’s such a help to read everyone’s experiences and to know I’m not alone…..and also know that I am not going crazy, being over dramatic or imagining things! I can relate to so many of your stories. Like you my MIL chose to ignore my pregnancy never once asking if I or the baby were ok. I will never forget when we broke the news that I was pregnant – we didn’t say anything at first, we passed her the pictures from the scan saying we had some photos to show her. The look on her face was priceless, you could see the teeth being gritted and ‘lemons being sucked’ as she raged with jealously and then the cogs in her head went into overdrive as she tried to bring the situation back round to her. Her reply to the pictures was “what is it? what am I looking at?” Her response to being told it was our baby was “we didn’t have things like that in my day” – meaning the scan pictures. At no point did she say congratulations or express delight.

    When my LO was born, we were still in the hospital, my husband having just come back after going home for a little shut eye and a shower, when his phone rang. It was MIL saying she had lost her handbag & didn’t know what to do, she couldn’t get hold of FIL, could my husband help her! I was speechless. Here was my husband holding his new born daughter, only a few hours old, MIL’s first and only grandchild, and here she was trying once again to turn all the focus back onto her. If I hadn’t been so tired and full of emotion for my baby, I think I would have lost it at this point with her and my husband – who duly made some phone calls & the handbag was found in their car – surprise, surprise!

    I could go on and on with endless stories since LO has been born…..She phoned everyone in her address to tell them she was now a Grandma, I think bullying most of them into sending a card &/or a present – we suddenly received items from random strangers who invariably signed the card ‘I know your Mum’! Her own new baby card simply said ‘Thank you for making me a Grandparent’. (Again no congratulations, best wishes, enjoyment or celebration of the baby.)
    I’ve had to listen to the comments to my husband “Isn’t it amazing that (LO) is made up of you, me and your Dad”; the constant comments about LO’s name – why did you choose that name? Was it your Grandmothers / a family name? – I suspect in her world she was expecting we would name the baby after her. We endure the endless inappropriate gifts – all from charity shops (though she does try to pass some of them off as being brand new & directly from the shop the label says) most of the toys with bits missing / not working or clothes that are too big, too small, the wrong sex or were knitted in the 1970’s!

    I’ve also learnt about some of the lies and nasty things she says to other people about me as a Mum – I am too strict; I am overly concerned / paranoid about what LO eats; I imagined that LO had food allergies; I sit around all day drinking coffee or having lunch out with friends; she hardly see’s her grandchild……it just goes on.Arrrggghhhh!!!

    Sadly though the situation with my NPD MIL is now at breaking point in that it is causing major friction between myself and my husband. He won’t accept that her behaviour is unreasonable; he constantly makes excuses for her if I try to address issues with him or he tells me that I am being over sensitive!! Now that I understand she has NPD and is sick, it makes things easier to understand in my mind but how do I make him realise this? My MIL is the all engulfing parent and my husband is totally manipulated and scared of her – she plays the “I’m old & you are my only son” card constantly. Any tips on addressing things with a husband in denial?

    • Anonymous

      Kate your story is awful. I feel for you and can totally relate. I agree that this blog is extremely helpful, well written and a God send. Hearing others stories really helps to know that we are not alone in dealing with a NMIL. It does help you digest everything and know that you are NOT CRAZY. My husband also was manipulated by MIL for a long time and is still fearful of her. However, slowly he is seeing what she is all about. I have very carefully crafted an overview of what NPD is and compiled it into a document for him to read. I left it on his desk under a pile of papers for him to discover. A few days later he thanked me sincerely for it. It is a very slow process. I am also going to suggest 2 books that I have researched for him to read. One is called “Children of the Self Absorbed” by Nina Brown and the other is “Trapped in the Mirror: Adult Children of Narcissists in their Struggle for Self” by Elan Golomb. I intend also to read both of these books myself. Both have overall very favorable reviews. Hope this helps and thank you to FierceCorkWoman for this amazing blog!

      • You are very kind in your praise, I am so pleased to be helpful! I will check out the second of your book recommendations, that is not one I have come across. Thank you.

    • Hi Kate, your MIL does sound like mine! I’m glad you feel some shared experiences on here, I was a bit hesitant to start this blog and left it alone for a few months after I did the first few posts but I have got a lot from hearing all of your stories. We had a nasty email from her over Easter trying to drive a wedge between my husband and I by suggesting he had not visited her because of me. Sigh.

      My husband was in the position that yours is now. It can change. I found that two things made him gradually see his mother more objectively. Exposure to normal family interactions so he could compare and contrast was one and not taking the extreme anti-MIL corner was the other. I mention in the post titled “How NOT to manage a Narcissistic MIL” that ranting at the husband doesn’t work in the long run as they defend their mothers. Actually what they are defending is their psychological equilibrium as accepting she is very disordered would be really quite traumatic. I’ll stick a post up on denial, I wrote a bit for the e-book on it. I hope it helps. Hang in there.

      • Kate

        Thank you Anonymous & FCW for your replies and helpful advice, I’ll be checking out the book suggestions and the other posts.

        I guess the ‘NMIL-Planets’ were in alignment over Easter. We had a pretty hideous visit from MIL; within the first 15 mins of being here she had told a story about a visit to a friend who has a “rotten DIL” who is “rude & uncommunicative”. She then went on in the next sentence to say how her friend is “badly disabled after having a hip operation” – my own Father is currently awaiting a date for a hip replacement! And that was just the opening knife sharpening, the rest of the visit carried on in the same vein, all direct blows concealed within stories or ‘nice’ comments, usually followed up with a bit of play acting and then some selective hearing too.

        She did produce some Easter gifts for LO – a pair of winter gloves (at least 2 sizes too big), 2 broken toys and an Easter egg with a finger hole poked through the middle!

        At the time I was so wound up I had to remove myself from the room but today I can laugh about it, and that’s probably due to forums like this – thank you again.

    • Many thanks

      Kate, I am so sorry that you have to deal with a MIL like the one you’ve described. I completely relate and will confirm again what you already know – you are not alone. It is a very hard place to be a DIL to a NMIL, especially when your husband is not yet fully aware of what his mother suffers from and how it impacts him and his nuclear family (his wife and kids).

      Stay strong through the major friction youve expressed to having with your husband and remember this is YOUR family now, and you are not going to let a sickly woman ruin your dreams of a happy and healthy home! It will take time for your DH to see things the way you now do, and that’s expected – she is after all his mother and there is a bond there that he believes is based on love (in reality what she calls “love” is a love for what your husband – her son – represents — a feeding source that she’s thrived on for years before you came around and wanted to share him – ha!)

      To give you some encouragement that this friction can develop into a growth experience for your marriage, we’ve been married 3.5 yrs and at first it was difficult for my husband to hear my “complaining” about his mother whenever she’d say hurtful and rude things, even though he agreed she was being inappropriate and rude. He explained that it’s hurtful for him to think about his mom as a bad person because this is someone who raised him and loves him and did so much for him (shes always reminding all 5 of her sons of all that she did for them – taking time off of work to raise them, make sure they did well in school, enforce a 2 musical instrument rule to teach them music, schedule them very tightly so they never got involved with bad crowds, being aggressive with teachers to get them in the best classes, and networking a whole bunch with anyone who would talk to her whether or not she knew that person inorder to help them get summer jobs…. oh and to this day she always reminds my 30 yr old husband that “She was the one who changed his pamper”).

      But enough time out of her home, and enough time witnessing other maternal role models (my mother is a very generous and selfless person – she’s not perfect but she is a good soul, thank God), and time not hearing me bitch about his mom, gave my husband the space he needed to begin viewing things differently. I limited talk about my MIL with my DH to be only about boundary setting and my feelings – not to tearing into her. (Limiting myself in that also helped me heal from the rage I felt at the beginning of our marriage for how she treated me when we got engaged and when our daughter was born almost 2 years later.)

      I didn’t force my interpretations of her antics on my husband, I allowed him to taking it in for himself. Actually – your stories are so so so unfortunately family — and we have the same stories regarding thrift shop items for the new baby — and that was actually the clincher for my husband. She lives about 4 hours away – called him a few times to play up the gifts shes sending for baby A via post. When the items came, they were clearly not new. The style was late 70’s knit, it had buttons missing, was overly perfumed, and had a bonnet with a string was so clearly a child hazard. The second item was for a 4 yr old (baby was an infant), was used, worn, piling, and had a stain. I just let him sit there and take it all in – pointing out the defects, which I guess I didnt really need to do. He was so saddened. “Why would she hype up a gift like this? This is so messed up.” What resulted was him confronting her about where she got it from (she claimed a boutique on Madison avenue in the fancy part of Manhattan — so laughable!) and he knew she was lying. When he asked her why she needed to lie she melted into tears, called him ungrateful, told him he is a bad son for not appreciating how hard she worked to buy and send these etc. etc. by the end of the call he was apologizing to her and telling her he loved it and we were keeping it.

      He hung up confused by the whole scenario and by his backpedaling in the end, and we unpacked it together. The lies, the manipulation, the guilt, the need he had to make her feel admired for her crappy gift etc… And that was the beginning of the light bulb going off. Since then he is more open to discussing MIL so long as I stay respectful and productive in the conversation (seeking familial happiness). We’re out of the woods in terms of the friction but now our next challenge is helping DH recover whatever parts of his self she stopped him from developing, and protecting our growing family from her weird ways.

      I trust that with patience and wisdom you’ll get there with your husband. The books mentioned below are great, and I will add one more “The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists.” I have been told that there is a great clinical read intended for other therapists called “The Narcissistic Family” that I may just pay the extra buck for. Best of luck and I hope the best for you guys!

  7. annie

    My husband and I don’t have an children. I was happy to see the mind reading expectation mentioned. My MIL does this all of the time, I’m not sure she ever asks for anything directly, but she always finds pleasure in making you mind read, and then of course relishes the punishment she imposes if you don’t mind read. Well she is screwed now, because I’m mind reading not what she wants (but what she is trying to manipulate). She also gave us a check at our wedding (after acting horribly the entire week before or wedding), and we refused to cash it. After we didn’t cash it (obviously on purpose as we cashed all of the other checks…I’m sure she checked with her other relatives), she mailed us a Christmas gift in February with a check card for the exact denomination of the check (effectively forcing the gift upon us).

    • Mind reading is funny. It is so open to being blatantly ignored. My husband has now started taking everything his mother says at an almost autistic face value and refuses to infer her indirect meanings. She is getting more and more frustrated by his intransigence.

  8. cmw2012

    I stumbled upon your blog tonight and I can’t stop reading! I wish I didn’t relate to everything you write so completely. My husband has a 5 year old son (the product of a 1 night stand) whom we have custody of and we have a daughter who is about to turn a year old. For whatever reason MIL/FIL think that my stepsons mother is great (this woman decided to walk out of his life last November and was about to sign away her parental rights… until MIL swooped in and talked her out of it). I think that they must like her because she goes along with everything that they say and doesn’t have a mind of her own… Or maybe it’s the fact that she made a baby and then wasn’t a “threat” against the relationship MIL has with my husband.

    There was a falling out that took place shortly after we found out that I was pregnant, and I didn’t talk to my inlays through the majority of my pregnancy (although my husband and I fought about them continuously)… When I was about 6 months pregnant I wound up deciding to give them another shot and went to their house on his birthday… FIL didn’t even come downstairs and MIL was superficially cordial.

    MIL is a school teacher and FIL doesn’t work. It was summer time when my I went into labor, and we dropped off SS on the way to the hospital (they live on the way and they’d been complaining for months about not seeing him enough). 33 Hours later our beautiful baby girl was born. They brought SS to meet his sister and then left after only a few minutes. I don’t think that they even acknowledged that I was present. After spending 1 day in the hospital my doctor said that they were going to keep us until the following morning. MIL insisted that she needed to PAINT HER BASEMENT and that my husband needed to pick up SS and bring him home since she’d done enough for him/us already. I adore my stepson but I also never would give birth to my first child again and felt that was a time that I needed my husband. I sent MIL a text saying that I really didn’t appreciate her causing an argument between my husband and myself after JUST giving birth and said that my sister would be picking him up. I never received a response, and other than a handful of dramatic arguments, have not heard from her since then…

    My daughter will be a year old in a few weeks and MIL/FIL just saw her for the 3rd time yesterday — they live 10 minutes from us. They saw her in the hospital, at my husband’s grandmother’s wake, and I let my husband bring her over there for a few minutes after a counseling session because I was feeling hopeful. She claims that I don’t allow her to see my daughter or stepson and that is the reason that she hasn’t come around. In actuality, they have had an open invite to come to our home anytime that they want to but have chosen not to because they “don’t want to deal with me”. They say that my husband can bring the kids over, but that I’m not welcome there… She actually thinks my daughter will step foot in a house where I am not welcome? Um, no. After a year of my husband resenting ME for his parent’s decision to not come around I decided that he could bring her there while I pumped gas. I guess I’ve just got high hopes to not have her birthday be a giant fight between my husband and myself like every special occasion & holiday in the last year… (him being upset that his family isn’t there & me powerless to change it).

    There was a span of time after new years where my husband CO his family and attempted to defend our marriage. MIL decided that rather than speak with me that she’d talk stepsons mom into coming back into the picture and visit him behind my husband’s back. MIL actually has succeeded in separating us and my husband went to stay with them about a month ago with stepson. Their “happy family” went on vacation over father’s day weekend and my daughter and I were home together. I guess Stepson is the “golden child” and Daughter is the “scapegoat”..

    My husband wound up telling her that he’s going to fight for our marriage and make things work earlier this week and has been staying at home again… I don’t want to give up on my marriage… I love my husband and I have never thought of divorce being an option, but it seems impossible to make things work when his mother has basically made him choose one or the other. I just hate that the kids are treated differently and saddened by whatever garbage that my stepson’s head is being filled with.. I just wish these people were normal. 😦

    Sorry for the super long post. I guess I needed to vent. Haha.

    • cmw2012, don’t apologise sometimes you just have to let it all out.

      It sounds like your MIL has sussed you are not a push over and is trying to get her way through your husband. For example, she won’t set foot in your house (because it is your territory and she knows it) but insists visits with the grandchildren involve going round to see her where she would have the upper hand. You are right to refuse to go along with this.

      I am so sorry to hear she has manipulated your husband into staying with her. If at all possible get yourself and your husband to see a therapist together, a marriage counsellor. He needs to hear from some third party how her behaviour is destructive and abnormal. Is he an only child? Life with a new small baby is tough, even solid marriages with normal in-laws sometimes take a turn where one partner needs a break. Maybe that’s part of the problem? Are your family nearby? Could you and your husband take a “happy family vacation” together and some reliable and loving grandparents look after the kids? Hang in there.

  9. arowl11

    I can’t even begin to express how wonderful it was to discover this site. Everything I read is so much like my MIL it’s unbelievable! In fact, I have literally, almost word for word, said this to both my husband and my MIL after she blatantly undermined our parenting in front of our children 3 times in two days:
    “Outright disobedience of any rules you make regarding your children is one of these. This is a concern for several reasons. Firstly it is a continuation of her disrespect and attempts to control you and your other half, it is about power not love. Second it undermines you as parents in front of your children showing them that your rules do not need to be obeyed.”

    She literally told our children that if we (the parents) weren’t there, she would let them do/have whatever it was we were denying them. She also shows outright favoritism to our oldest (a son) and our girls are very aware of this. She wanted to take the kids to a carnival and took off with our son, leaving all of us in her dust. We had no idea where she went. When we found her, she was getting him ice cream and a snow cone without even making sure we were ok with it.

    We made the mistake of leaving the two older kids with her for two days. She refused to watch the youngest daughter. She said she would only do two at a time, which is totally fine, but she’s always rubbing it in our face that she raised all three of her sons all by herself, that her husband was no help at all, and that I (the daughter-in-law) should be so grateful that I have my husband (her son…the golden child) who does so much.

    When she watched the two older kids (5 and 3), she literally ran them into the ground, fed them candy to keep them going, kept them up until 10pm every night and did not give them naps. We explicitly told her that their bedtime was 8pm at the very latest and that our 3-year-old absolutely needs her naps or else she will be a holy terror. Of course, she didn’t follow any of our “rules”. When we confronted her about undermining our parenting, she threw it back at us saying that we didn’t do what she asked us to do while staying at her house. She then dissolved into tears (while clinging to our newborn) and shut down and refused to talk to us. Of course, I felt horrible and ended up apologizing.

    There are SO many more issues going on with her. I could probably write a book. It’s just nice to know that others understand as well.Thank you for all that you have shared on here!!!

  10. amanda

    I live right in front of my MIL. Our backyards are combined with a jasmine traced arch. I have 2 of her grandchildren. Brayden just turned 4 and Olivia is 2 and1/2. My MIL is a widow since Dec.2011. She use to live in west palm beach..but now resides here in Tampa..right behind us. I am not married to her son, but we share 2 children and are bF/G/f for 5 yrs. He is her only child. They never had a good relationship until I got pregnant with our first..just a few months after dating and the loss of her husband. I am so mind Fucked by this whole arrangement I can’t tell what’s left or right anymore. Her and I had a fallen out on NY’s day and ever since then my 4 yr. Old has screamed about having to come home after she babysits. I found a home daycare a few streets away but BF insists on having his mom watch our babies. I just recently realized that she is a narcissist. So of course my defenses are up! I am just now putting together all the ways she works…with expensive gifts, all our babies clothes and shoes, vacations,etc. My BF doesn’t think he can live without her now. God forbid I try to expalin my thoughts or feelings to him. He just accuses me over thinking things, and attacking his mom. Although he never calls her, and gets upset when I ask him to go there and pick the kids up. He complains about ever having to go there to her house, and blames me for it! Since I set some boundaries on NY’s day my 4 yr. Old has thrown a fit and screams and cries that he wants to stay at Mimi’s forever. Before this he would knock me over and cried to come home… I know something is not right. I don’t know what to do. And I have noone on my side.

  11. Oh boy… You know, the psychological trauma I have surrounding my two difficult pregnancies is such that I suffered significant memory loss surrounding that part of my life (a condition that has improved since I have started getting psychological & medical treatment for my own battles with anxiety disorder and depression). But reading this triggered some memories.

    Oh, how mil insisted that she not only control my pregnancy, she somehow orchestrated circumstances so that I lived with her, despite the fact my obstetrician was about 100kms away in a different part of the state. My own parents thought I was being a jerk to them, and it’s only now they realise I was a victim of cult-like brainwashing. My mil bought us so much baby stuff that my parents felt like they were being pushed out of the picture (they were but not by me!). My in laws didn’t like the baby names I chose. They kept offering alternatives and were most offended that I said no.

    They would lament that it was sad that their grandchild wouldn’t be raised in their specific brand of religion, and that grandchild and daughter in law were on a crash course to hell. When my son developed serious health problems, they kept intervening and infantilising us and taking him to their doctor because they thought my own rural doctors I’d attended my whole life were inadequate. They assumed we would one day move to be closer to them (unfortunately, we did, and its only now after ten years of living a few minutes away that my husband is waking up to the fact that it was nicer living rural when his family refused to visit us).

    Oh and that’s the other thing… They seemed to be punishing my husband for marrying me and moving to my part of the state (where we were both university students). They required us to visit them regularly, a 160kms (100 miles) car trip that used up about half our meagre student stipends on petrol in a dangerously under-maintained car we could barely afford. We went years without them visiting us and while I now realise how good that was, there was incredible pressure on us to obey, without the slightest consideration, ever, that their son actually chose to marry me and live close to our rural university and that I wasn’t a Jezebel out to keep him away from his family and his church. The fact there were plenty of decent churches, schools, community events, not to mention housing we could actually afford, and play groups and all that local to us – not to mention some of my helpful and unobtrusive extended family – was unacceptable to them.

    If we were found to be interacting with people outside of their particular nondenominational church, it was all me trying to warp their son and grandchildren. From the second we moved to be closer to them, a decade ago now, I have regretted it. I never should’ve left my much loved rural community just to please my NMIL… But as my psychologist says, I can’t be too critical of myself because anyone in my position probably would’ve made the same decisions on the assumption that the in laws were normal and not a cesspool of dysfunction, abuse, control and manipulation, greed, and stinginess all wrapped up in religious self righteousness. Sigh. Sorry for all the commenting but I have only been reading this blog today and it’s very cathartic.

  12. Jennanonymous

    Just found your blog post and it is so nice to know I’m not the only one dealing with these issues. For years I didn’t even notice it for what it was. It got to where my MIL compromised my child’s innocence, just to spite me, it was that day I realized what kind of woman she is. Idk how I never saw all the warning signs before. It got to the point of her coming into my home unannounced literally to parent my children how she thought they should be!

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